Man City beats Sunderland 3-1 in League Cup final
LONDON (AP) Manchester City staged a second-half comeback to beat Sunderland 3-1 in the League Cup final on Sunday, with exquisite goals from Yaya Toure and Samir Nasri inside two minutes sparking the recovery.
Returning to the stadium where Roberto Mancini’s City career ended in an FA Cup final loss last May, further Wembley misery appeared to be beckoning when Fabio Borini put Premier League struggler Sunderland in front after 10 minutes.
Instead, City, which has now scored 121 goals this season, remains on course for an improbable quadruple that would require all the resolve displayed in the second half to complete.
After a flat first-half performance, the recovery began after Toure nonchalantly curled into the net from 30 yards in the 55th minute, with Samir Nasri volleying home City’s second inside two minutes.
City fans were already celebrating just their third trophy in three years – following a 35-year title drought – when Jesus Navas completed a counterattack to add the third in the 90th minute.
”To win the first trophy I think is important for us all … because at an important club you must win trophies,” Pellegrini said.
”In the second half we changed it and scored two beautiful goals and we had the patience to win.”
City is in the Premier League title hunt and has reached the FA Cup quarterfinals, but must overturn a 2-0 deficit against Barcelona to advance in the Champions League from the round-of-16 stage.
”I hope it will bring confidence for us to win the other trophies,” Nasri said.
After more than $1.5 billion of investment in less than six years, City has now won each of the domestic trophies in three years, following the 2011 FA Cup and 2012 Premier League title.
”Our first half, there was memories of Wigan,” Nasri said, referring to last year’s FA Cup final loss. ”We said that we need to stay calm, to remain focused and play our football.”
City did just that, and two exceptional moments swung the game in City’s favor.
The curling shot from Toure looped over Mannone into the corner of the net, giving the defensive midfielder a 17th goal of the season. And before Sunderland, which is mired in a relegation fight, could regroup there was an equally fine finish from Nasri. From Pantilimon’s quick goal kick, Aguero sent the ball to Aleksandar Kolarov, who crossed for Nasri to net with a first-time volley.
”They’ve scored a great goal to get back into it, he’s stuck it in the top corner from 30 yards out and then we’ve lost a bit of organization and it’s cost us a second goal,” Sunderland captain John O’Shea said.
There was no way back for Sunderland, and Fernandinho seized possession to allow City to mount a late surge forward that ended with Toure setting up Navas to beat Mannone with a close-range finish.
”It wasn’t to be,” Sunderland manager Gus Poyet said. ”But we tried … and now we want to stay in the Premier League.”