Fans of English football were treated to one of the greatest finishes in any Premier League season on Sunday. That is, unless you are a fan of Manchester United.
Manchester City came into Sunday with the same amount of points (86) as Man U, along with an identical record. City had an edge in goal differential by eight goals over Man U, so all they needed was a win, or a United loss, to clinch their first title in 44 years.
City took on Queens Park Rangers at home, while United was at Sunderland. United took the lead in the chase for the title as Wayne Rooney scored in the twentieth minute to put United up 1-0.
That would be United’s only goal, and the only goal for either team in the game. It was all they needed until City’s Pablo Zabaleta put them up 1-0 before the half.
The second half had much less favorable results for City and their fans, as they found themselves down 2-1 after two goals by QPR in the first twenty minutes of the half. This score would hold until stoppage time* at the end of the game.
*The extra stoppage time was thanks in large part to Joey Barton of QPR who lost his cool and was red carded in the beginning of the second half. He kicked Sergio Agüero and appeared to headbutt Kompany as he was being sent off the field.
As City went into stoppage time, United was wrapping up their victory over Sunderland. They knew that City trailed 1-0 going into stoppage time, and were essentially waiting for their celebration to begin.
Fans of City watched and prayed as they prepared for a final charge to try and score two goals in a matter of minutes. The first goal came off the head of Edin Dzeko, who quelled his celebration in order to get right back to the game.
Just minutes later, Agüero found an opening in front of the goal and sent the ball to the back of the net to take the lead and clinch the title for City.
The TV cameras switched to Man U as they were called off the field after finding out that they did not in fact win the Premier League title.
The constant changing of fortunes for teams in different games was what made me think about comparisons to September 28th. That was of course the night where the Cardinals and Rays clinched playoff spots, and the Red Sox and Braves finished off their historic collapses.
The circumstances were different, but the feel was the same.
Man U was on the field ready to celebrate their title, just as the Red Sox were only one strike away from at least reaching a one game playoff. Jonathan Papelbon then gave up back to back two out hits that were his last pitches as a member of the Red Sox.
Evan Longoria of the Rays quickly answered the Red Sox collapse with a walk-off home run in the twelfth inning against the Yankees. This came after the Rays were down to their last out in the bottom of the ninth, before Dan Johnson hit a pinch-hit home run to keep their hopes alive.
Coming back from the brink of defeat to save a season, and win a title, was exactly the feeling that was felt by Man City and their fans with the two stoppage time goals.
Nights like September 28th and May 13th are very rare, and may be once-in-a-lifetime nights for baseball and soccer, or football, fans alike. It is important to appreciate special days like these, unless of course you are a fan of Man U, the Red Sox, or the Braves.