Sensational quick-fire goals by Yaya Toure and
Samir Nasri inspired Manchester City to come
from behind and beat Sunderland 3-1 in the
League Cup final at Wembley on Sunday.
Sunderland had taken a 10th-minute lead through
on-loan Liverpool striker Fabio Borini and a fine first-half display
left them on course for a first piece of major silverware since 1973.
However, City responded in the second half, with Toure lobbing in a
superb long-range equaliser and Nasri smashing home less than two
minutes later before substitute Jesus Navas added a third goal at the
“The team deserve this cup because we played well during the whole
cup and scored a lot of goals,” said City manager Manuel Pellegrini.
“Sunderland played a good match also and we didn’t move the ball as
fast as we needed (in the first half), but in the second half we scored
two beautiful goals and had the patience to wait for the moment.”
Victory for City enabled them to partially atone for the shock of last
season’s loss to Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup final and sets them up
for a tilt at a domestic treble.
City are six points off the pace in the Premier League with two
games in hand and will face Wigan in the FA Cup quarterfinals,
while they also trail Barcelona 2-0 in their Champions League last
It was a bittersweet first trip to the new Wembley for Sunderland
but they could reflect with pride on a valiant display that augurs well
for their Premier League relegation battle and forthcoming FA Cup
quarterfinal against Hull City.
“We did everything we could,” said Sunderland manager Gus Poyet.
“That’s the best part of what we are all about. To beat us they had to
score two wonder goals. I hate losing but I’m proud of the players.”
City welcomed back top scorer Sergio Aguero after a month out with
a hamstring injury and he served an early reminder of his threat with
a snapshot that was parried by Sunderland goalkeeper Vito
Sunderland had started the game with intent, however, snapping into
tackles in the middle of the pitch, and a minute later they rocked City
by taking the lead.
Lee Cattermole, starting in place of the cup-tied Liam Bridcutt,
robbed Toure just outside the Sunderland area and fed Adam
Johnson, who lofted a ball down the right flank for Borini to chase.
Vincent Kompany got to the ball first but the City captain’s attempted
clearance was blocked by Borini, who cut into the box from the right
and deftly found the bottom-left corner with the outside of his right
Sunderland were quick to gather men behind the ball afterwards but
they continued to threaten, with Wes Brown heading over from a
When City did muster an attack, Nasri saw a tame shot saved by
Mannone and it took a magnificent last-ditch block by Kompany to
prevent Borini from extending Sunderland’s lead before halftime.
It was to prove a spurned opportunity that Sunderland would rue, as
within 11 minutes of the restart, City were in front.
The teams exchanged chances early in the second half, David Silva
testing Mannone and Costel Pantilimon pushing a long-range Ki
Sung-yueng effort over at the other end, before Toure equalised
with an exquisite strike.
With Sunderland camped inside their area, Pablo Zabaleta rolled
the ball back to Toure and the giant Ivorian lifted a gloriously
nonchalant effort over Mannone and into the top-left corner from 30
Sunderland barely had time to draw breath before Nasri made it 2-0
in the 56th minute, meeting Aleksandar Kolarov’s deflected left-wing
cross with an emphatic shot from the edge of the box that swerved
deliciously inside the left-hand post.
Immediately, City introduced Navas in place of Aguero, while a
shellshocked Sunderland sent on Craig Gardner and Steven
Fletcher, who quickly tested Pantilimon with a low shot.
Kompany almost added a third for City when he hooked wide from a
Nasri corner, before Navas rattled a shot inside Mannone’s near post
from Toure’s pass to rubberstamp City’s third League Cup crown.
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