Manchester City Football Club is a lot like the Los Angeles Clippers: loveable losers constantly outshined by a cross-town rival. But on Sunday, Manchester City was able to turn the tables, winning the last game of the season with an improbable comeback to steal the Premier League title from the grasp of the mighty Manchester United. To discuss the wild end of the season, Bill Littlefield spoke with Roger Bennett of ESPN.com.
“It was a little bit like watching Roger Clinton just completely out-fox, out-do, and overwhelm Bill Clinton,” Bennett said. “United are a powerhouse of modern sport, they are an uber-franchise. City have had decades – 44 years – of comedy. They’ve been long-suffering. Every time they’ve come near glory, they’ve managed to self-harm.”
For most of the match on Sunday, it looked as if history would repeat itself. Manchester City trailed 2-1 to the dreadful Queens Park Rangers, while Manchester United led in their match against Sunderland. Had the scores held, Manchester United would have won the league title.
“Manchester City fans started to leave the stadium,” Bennett said. “But first, in the 91st minute, a Bosnian lump, whose nickname is The Lamppost, because he’s been so immobile all season, headed the ball home, 2-2, and there was still hope. Then, with 90 seconds to go, Kun Aguero burst through a mosh pit of players smacked the ball home. Nine months of football, 380 games, 1066 goals, and the tournament was won by the last kick of the ball.”
It is a bit difficult to find a proper equivalent for the wild finish in American sports, but Bennett did his best.
“There’s no direct parallel. It’s a Frankenstein monster of American sporting elements. September 28, 2011, the last day of the baseball season, the Red Sox blow a 3-2 lead, the Rays digging out of that 7-0 hole against the Yankees, but the challenge with that is that they didn’t win a championship. Joe Carter, 1993, walk-off home run, Game 6 of the World Series, but the Blue Jays and the Phillies, they don’t hate each other like Manchester United and Manchester City. I would throw in a bit of the 2004 ALCS, Red Sox-Yankees. I think if you throw those three things together, you could just about sum up what was last Sunday.”