Football has thrilled, enthralled and stirred the emotions over the course of 2012. Here, singles out 12 moments that have made it a year to remember in the beautiful game.

Zambia’s poignant prize 
12 February 
Zambia winning their first-ever CAF Africa Cup of Nations title in February would have been remarkable enough. That they beat heavy favourites Cote d’Ivoire to claim the trophy added shock value. But it was the fact that the game was their first in Libreville since the 1993 plane crash that killed all but one of their national team following a refuelling stop in the Gabonese capital that made this the most emotion-laden victory of the year.

Muamba’s miracle 
17 March
Tears were shed for a very different reason later that month when a sell-out crowd and worldwide TV audience watched aghast as Fabrice Muamba fought for his life on the White Hart Lane turf. It quickly became clear that Bolton Wanderers’ Congolese-born midfielder had suffered a cardiac arrest and yet, despite the fact his heart stopped for an incredible 78 minutes, he lived to tell the tale and has since written a book about his brush with death.

Stoppage-time Sergio 
13 May 
The battle for the English Premier League title went down to the final minute of the final game of the season... and beyond. It was, after all, five minutes into stoppage time against Queens Park Rangers, with Manchester United’s match at Sunderland already over, that Sergio Aguero struck the shot that clinched Manchester City’s first championship in 44 years.

Drogba’s final fling 
19 May 
Didier Drogba’s place among Chelsea’s all-time greats was already assured by the time he headed them level in a UEFA Champions League final in which they had been second-best throughout. Yet that equaliser merely set the stage for the Ivorian’s crowning moment, a coolly dispatched penalty with his final kick for the Blues that secured the club’s first-ever European crown.

Tahiti conquer continent 
10 June 
Before this year, the OFC Nations Cup had never left the Antipodes. It was, therefore, a major shock when New Zealand, fresh from their FIFA World Cup heroics, failed to even reach the final in the Solomon Islands. Instead, the continental title was fought over by Tahiti and New Caledonia, and it was a solitary goal from Steevy Chong Hue that secured the title, and a place at the FIFA Confederations Cup, for the French Polynesians.

Rangers go under 
14 June
Rangers’ perilous financial position had been an open secret but there was still shock when, after 140 years of history and a world record 54 league titles, the club was consigned to liquidation in mid-June. The Glasgow giants were subsequently reformed as a new company and granted entry to the Third Division, Scotland’s fourth tier, which they currently lead by nine points with a game in hand.