Monday, May 14, 2012

City triumph "incredible" - Mancini

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini described his side's first domestic title success in 44 years - won on goal difference in the most dramatic of circumstances - as "incredible".

The Etihad Stadium outfit became the first team to win the title on goal difference since Arsenal pipped Liverpool in 1989 thanks to two injury-time goals from Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero which secured a 3-2 win against 10-man QPR.

Pablo Zabaleta had given the home the side lead but Djibril Cisse levelled for the relegation-threatened visitors just after the break. The R's then lost former City midfielder Joey Barton to a red card in a moment of sheer madness only for Jamie Mackie to head them in front, undoubtedly sparking frantic selections from punters active on the live soccer betting circuit.

At that point local rivals Manchester United were within touching distance of celebrating a record 20th domestic title after a 1-0 win at Sunderland, but two late goals brought about scenes of hysteria at Eastlands.

Mancini said: "This is an incredible moment. We wanted this title and we deserve to win this title. This is for all our supporters, the club, the chairman and the owner. This is the perfect finale for a crazy season. We dominated this season for 28 games, but when we beat a team like United twice in one season we deserve this."

Sir Alex Ferguson's deposed champions, also on 89 points, set a new domestic record for most points in a 38-game campaign without being crowned winners.

Ferguson, the domestic game's most decorated manager, said: "I congratulate City on winning the league. Anybody who wins it deserves it, because it's a long haul. At the end of our game our players didn't actually know the results. Now, they're really disappointed, I'm glad to say."

At the other end of the table, Bolton's 11-year stay in the Premier League came to an end following a 2-2 draw at Stoke. Wanderers, who knew only a win would keep them up, joined Blackburn and Wolves in dropping down to the Championship.

Few soccer betting tips would have predicted the eventual outcome at the bottom of the table. It is the first time all three sides promoted to the Premier League - QPR, Norwich and Swansea - have survived since 2002 when Bolton, Fulham and Blackburn all stayed up.

Bolton manager Owen Coyle said: "We'll regroup and pick ourselves up and see in the next few days what we need to do to move forward."

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