‘I’ve had some hammer!’ – Paddy Kenny never able to forget Sergio Aguero heroics
Kenny was in goal for QPR as Aguero’s stoppage-time winner secured the Premier League title in dramatic fashion for Manchester City 10 years ago.
Paddy Kenny acknowledges he had a hand in history – by failing to get a hand to a Sergio Aguero shot.
Kenny was the QPR goalkeeper dramatically beaten by Aguero as the Argentinian famously clinched the title for Manchester City with a last-gasp stoppage-time strike a decade ago.
Just moments earlier, with QPR leading 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium, it had looked as if the Premier League crown was heading across town to Manchester United.
Yet Aguero’s goal, coming with 93 minutes and 20 seconds on the clock and just moments after Edin Dzeko had equalised, completed a dramatic turnaround.
United were sensationally denied the title as City won 3-2 in the most remarkable final-day finish the competition has seen, and some people have never let Kenny forget it since.
I've had some hammer over the years, saying I should have saved it.
“I used to question every goal I conceded and that goal was no different,” Kenny told the PA news agency. “Maybe I could have taken half a step more to the left and possibly saved it.
“But he shot from about eight yards – and he could strike a ball! It was just pure pace that beat me because of how close he was. When people shoot from that sort of range you don’t have a lot of reaction time.
“I’ve had some hammer over the years, saying I should have saved it, but that’s something that comes with the job. Imagine if I had saved it! No-one would ever mention it, would they?”
City had begun the day needing to match United’s result at Sunderland to secure their first league title in 44 years.
After a season featuring plenty of twists and turns, it was never destined to be straightforward.
Adding to the tension was the fact QPR needed a result themselves to be sure of avoiding relegation.
Things looked good for City at half-time having taken the lead through Pablo Zabaleta, but Rangers responded after the break through Djibril Cisse and Jamie Mackie.
The scoreline remained in the visitors’ favour until the closing stages and, with United in front, City’s dream looked set to end in heartbreak.
Yet, under relentless pressure and reduced to 10 men after Joey Barton was sent off in chaotic scenes with the score 1-1, the London side finally buckled as Dzeko levelled from a corner.
What followed was pandemonium as Aguero etched his name into folklore and, realising they had avoided the drop due to events elsewhere, QPR were also able to join the party.
“I remember it like it was yesterday,” Kenny said. “How could you ever forget that? I honestly cannot believe it was 10 years ago.
“It wasn’t just Man City winning the league but us staying up as well. It made it very special for everybody.
“The way we lost the game, normally you would have been disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, I would have loved to spoil their party but that wasn’t to happen.
“We ended up staying up and that was all we aimed to do that day. Everyone was happy.”
It is because of that achievement that Kenny has no problem seeing Aguero’s goal being replayed time after time on television, as is quite likely this week, even if it might irritate those connected to United.
He said: “I don’t mind, not at all. It is what it is. You just get on with it. You just think, ‘I played a part in one of the biggest Premier League goals ever’.
“I was a Manchester United fan as a kid so I was a little bit gutted for them but I was there to do a job, keep QPR in the division and whatever happened to them was irrelevant to me on the day.
“That’s football. The Premier League is over 38 games. They had enough time to win it.
I was gutted we'd conceded but at the end we were all partying.
“When I look back now I think, in the circumstances, if he’d have shot earlier, which he could have done, panicking, thinking he had to shoot and score, it would probably have got blocked.
“But he showed unbelievable composure to dummy, dummy and then get that space because we had a couple of players dive in front of him. Then he shot. The composure he showed was quite scary.
“I remember it hitting the back of the net and I jumped up. I was gutted we’d conceded but at the end we were all partying because of the achievement of both clubs in different ways.”
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