|Samir Nasri (l) displays his t-shirt saying Eid Mubarak to mark â€˜Eidul Fitr.|
English Premier Soccer League Champions Manchester City fought back after a second-half collapse against Southampton to open its title defense with a 3-2 victory on opening weekend. And the victory was punctuated by an 80th-minute game-winner from French Muslim Samir Nasri, who then lifted his jersey in the goal celebration to reveal a t-shirt with the greeting â€œ`Eid Mubarakâ€™â€™ to mark the end of the month of Ramadan.
For City, the new season picked up where the last one ended for pulsating drama at Etihad Stadium. A 3-2 victory in May against Queens Park Rangers – secured in the final seconds â€“ ended Manchester Cityâ€™s 44-year title drought.
â€œWe showed great character,â€™â€™ Nasri told Sky Sports television. â€œWe didnâ€™t panic. It was like the last game of the season, weâ€™ve started the same and I hope at the end it will be the same result for us.â€
Although City didnâ€™t leave it until stoppage time on Sunday to produce the winner, manager Roberto Mancini hopes every game wonâ€™t be as tough. â€œIt is important to have this character, it is better the next time to close the game,â€™â€™ Mancini said. â€œWe had too many chances to close the game – we didnâ€™t. We deserved to win the game,â€™â€™ Mancini said. â€œThey didnâ€™t have any chances in the first half and we had four or five incredible chances.â€
After a period of sloppy play, the tying goal was scored by another Muslim player for Manchester City, Bosnian Muslim striker Eden Dzeko, who is rumored to possibly be on his way to joining Premier League rivals Tottenham. Nasri then secured the win after Southampton left back Danny Fox inadvertently headed the ball to the French midfielder. Nasri was subsequently handed a yellow card for his celebration, but Iâ€™m sure that Nasri, and Muslim football fans everywhere, consider it well worth it.