THE SEASON FINALE
Going into the final day of the 2011/12 English Premiership season Manchester City and Manchester United were tied at the top of the league on equal points. Both teams had to play that afternoon, with United playing away against Sunderland and City playing a seemingly easy game against already relegated Queens Park Rangers, knowing a win would secure their first title in 44 years. City were clear favourites to be champions.
Manchester United took an early lead against Sunderland (and eventually won their game 1-0) but all City had to do we play as normal and they would easily beat QPR. They were in good form with a great team full of international stars. All started off well, with City taking the lead but suddenly disaster struck. QPR scored twice and with only 24 minutes left to play were leading 2-1.
A MOUNTAIN TO CLIMB
City piled on the pressure but, as the minutes ticked away, they could not put the ball in the net. The game reached the end of normal time and City still needed to score two goals. By now the referee was looking at his watch calculating how much injury time was left. The situation looked hopeless.
THE TABLES TURN
Suddenly, out of nothing, City’s centre forward Edin Dzeko equalized. City were back in the game but unless they could get a winning goal the title would still go to United. Deep into injury time, with seconds left to play the ball went to Sergio Aguero, who somehow beat the defender in front of him and slotted the ball into the net. With virtually the last kick of the game on the final day of the season Manchester City were champions. It was an incredible end to a remarkable season.
Through playing hard right to the end and refusing to give up City had performed what felt like a miracle and, against all expectation, turned the game around. This is a great lesson for us in life.
Sometimes it can feel that everything is stacked against us and that we have no hope. Circumstances can beat us down and make us feel miserable. Life can be tough and unfair at times but we must always try, no matter what the circumstances, to persevere. If anyone on the City team had given up with a few minutes to go, which would have been the natural reaction, they would not have won the game and the league title would have been lost
On the football field there are times when we are being beaten and we feel like giving up. By enduring and fighting on, however, we can sometimes turn the tide and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. It is the ability to keep on enduring when the odds are stacked against you that will turn you from an average player or team into a top player or a team of champions.