MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 13: Sergio Aguero of Manchester City scores his team's third and matchwinning goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Queens Park Rangers at the Etihad Stadium on May 13, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Perhaps if there was ever a game to encapsulate the forty-four years since the previous League triumph then that was it. All of the emotions, hopes and frustrations, joys and tears captured within ninety (ok, ninety-five) minutes that saw City's fortunes alter as wildly as their fans heart rates.
A game that was gone, clawed back and then won, as dramatically as any, with the crack of Sergio Aguero's right boot reverberating around the Premier League and beyond.
A finale to stand up there with the best of them. An ending that confounded all who saw it. A spectacle that drained every last drop of emotion from the souls of fans who must have believed they had seen it all in following City down the years.
As for the game itself: City, after such dominance at The Etihad all season, were a shadow of the side of late. A combination of the occasion and some disciplined defending from QPR resulted in surely the worst home display of the season. Mindful perhaps of City's struggles at times away from home, Mark Hughes set QPR up to frustrate. Men behind the ball, defending as a unit and restricting space and time for City to create resulted in a nervy start as they failed to settle and couldn't find a way to threaten and news filtered through from the Stadium of Light that Wayne Rooney had scored. Advantage United.
But City had the lead at the break. Yaya Toure (soon to hobble off) and Sergio Aguero exchanged passes and played in Pablo Zabaleta, whose tame shot slipped through the grasp of Paddy Kenny and the ball edged over the line. Advantage City.
We all know how the numbers favour City when both opening the scoring and leading at half time. If there was ever a day for it to not follow the pattern this was not to be it but barely two minutes into the second half an uncharacteristic mistake from Joleon Lescott let in Djibril Cisse to stun the crowd into silence. Advantage United.
Worse was to come though. The Joey Barton sending off hardly benefited City. If anything, facing ten men seemed to heap pressure on to City; as if weighted down even further by expectation. A rare foray forward caught City out and Traore's cross found an unmarked Jamie Mackie to head powerfully home and put the visitors ahead.
City were fast running out ideas. They dominated possession and territory but found no way through, despite getting off an astonishing 44 shots. On came Edin Dzeko and Mario Balotelli to no real avail as City's attack bore an increasingly desperate look, but as the fourth official hoisted the board showing five minutes added time there was one final surge to lift the growing air of dejection. Finally, after so many poor deliveries David Silva found the head of Dzeko. 2-2. False hope or genuine optimism? News filtered through from Sunderland that United had won; another goal was needed.
With QPR defending so deeply with no real outlet there was always likely to be one last, final chance. The fact that it fell to Sergio Aguero was fortunate; the finish was not. A touch to take the ball away from Nedum Onouha and steady himself but the shot, fired with clinical precision to spark celebrations to rival the iconic images of Paul Dickov et al.
Advantage City; this time it would not be lost.
‘Untold damage' was awaited City if they had failed to the final hurdle. The ramifications of that don't bear thinking about but this it was triumph, not failure that was achieved and in the aftermath of the most dramatic of title wins it is now the possibilities that are untold.