Manchester City beat Sunderland 3-1 to win the Capital One Cup at Wembley
Three second-half goals sealed the Capital One Cup for Manchester City as they came from behind to overcome Sunderland 3-1 at Wembley.
A stunning, 30-yard effort from Yaya Toure and low drive from Samir Nasri turned the game on its head early in the second period after Fabio Borini had given Sunderland a first-half lead, and substitute Jesus Navas wrapped up the win late on.
That victory gave City the first piece of silverware up for grabs in 2014, and a first trophy in English football for 60-year-old manager Manuel Pellegrini.
It was Pellegrini’s men that started the brighter, moving the ball well, but after a couple of robust tackles Sunderland announced their arrival.
They had the ball in the net in the seventh minute but Borini was correctly flagged for offside. However, the Italian didn’t have to wait much longer for his goal; just three minutes.
The industrious Lee Cattermole won the ball deep in his own half, worked it up to Borini via former City boy Adam Johnson, and the striker finished exquisitely with the outside of his right foot after shrugging off the challenge of Vincent Kompany.
The travelling Mackems were in dreamland, doing the Poznan at the home of English football.
After the goal, City remained patient but frustration started to creep in as their pass-masters failed to break down the solid Sunderland backline, which was marshalled expertly by former Manchester Untied duo John O’Shea and Wes Brown.
Nasri attempted to flick a Sergio Aguero cross goalwards but he couldn’t get enough on it and Borini headed over his own bar to safety from another dangerous City cross.
The 22-year-old, playing as a lone striker, was in the thick of things again at the other end of the pitch in the 37th minute and he really should have doubled the Black Cats’ lead.
A long, hopeful ball was flicked onto the front man and he raced clear but Kompany hunted him down and made a crucial interception just as Borini steadied himself to shoot, to keep the score at 1-0.
City started the second half in the same manner that they had begun the first, passing the ball with intent, trying to create a goalscoring opportunity.
No clear openings were forthcoming but that didn’t matter - Yaya Toure was on the case. After receiving the ball 30 yards out, the influential Ivorian nonchalantly shot at goal, unchallenged, looping it over Vito Mannone into the top corner.
City looked more determined – Pellegrini’s half-time team talk had worked. They had the momentum and the West side of Wembley Stadium was in ecstasy again a minute later.
Aleksandar Kolarov’s cross from the left was half-cleared to the edge of the area, where Samir Nasri was on hand to power home a low drive to send the City faithful wild.
The relief could be felt, and City were in control.
Gus Poyet changed the shape of his side in an attempt to rescue the match but that granted Pellegrini’s men more space when going forward.
Kompany fired narrowly wide from a corner, while second-half substitute Jesus Navas caused havoc down the right, and it was the latter who wrapped up the victory.
Toure drove forward with power and, with the blue of City heavily outnumbering the red and white of Sunderland, he opted to lay the ball off to Navas, who shot low beyond Mannone to add gloss to the scoreline and seal the Capital One Cup.
Manchester City: Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Kompany (C), Demichelis, Kolarov, Nasri, Toure, Fernandinho, Silva (Garcia 76), Aguero (Navas 57), Dzeko (Negredo 86).
Substitutes not used: Hart, Clichy, Lescott, Milner.
Sunderland: Mannone, Bardsley, Alonso, O'Shea (C), Brown, Cattermole (Giaccherini 76), Colback, Ki, Larsson (Fletcher 59), Johnson (Gardner 59), Borini.
Substitutes not used: Ustari, Celustka, Vergini, Scocco.
Referee: Martin Atkinson.