Man City wins FA Cup after 1-0 win over Stoke
Manchester City ended its 35-year trophy drought Saturday, winning the FA Cup on Yaya Toure's second-half goal in a 1-0 victory over Stoke.
Toure struck an unstoppable shot in the 74th minute after Mario Balotelli's deflected effort fell into his path. The Ivory Coast midfielder was immediately mobbed by his teammates.
Toure, a $38.9 million transfer from Barcelona last summer, also scored the winning goal against Manchester United in the semifinal.
Watching in the crowd was his brother Kolo, who is serving a ban for a positive drug test.
''Yes, this goal was especially for my brother,'' Toure said. ''Especially as he was watching from the stands. I dedicate this cup to him. Hopefully he is back next season.''
City manager Roberto Mancini, along with jubilant captain Carlos Tevez, were among the last to leave the pitch after the victory gave City its first trophy since the 1976 League Cup and its fifth FA Cup win, 42 years after the last.
''In my opinion we deserved it,'' said Mancini after seeing his side dominate most of the game.
The Italian took the job in Dec. 2009, 16 months after the club was bought by Abu Dhabi businessman Sheikh Mansour. Since the takeover, an estimated $485 million has been spent on assembling a squad to challenge for the game's major honors.
Mancini's first success came in qualification for the Champions League, sealed four days ago, and the club is hoping the FA Cup is the start of a prolonged era of success.
Saturday's win came on the same day that city rival United sealed its 19th English league title, but that didn't dampen the celebrations in a buoyant blue half of Wembley Stadium.
In response to the famous United banner at Old Trafford that notes the number of years since City's last trophy, the City fans at Wembley triumphantly held aloft one of their own reading ''00 YEARS.''
Stoke's ebullient supporters stayed to watch City lift the trophy, eking every last moment out of the club's first trip to the FA Cup final in its 148-year history. They delivered a last, deafening rendition of their unofficial anthem, Tom Jones' ''Delilah,' before heading for the exits.
But while Stoke's fans reveled in the Wembley experience, the players appeared to be in awe of the occasion and were never at their best.
''(City) played the best stuff on the day,'' goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen said. ''It's disappointing that we didn't play better. We've done so in the past - especially lately, we've done really well - that's the most disappointing thing.''
Stoke manager Tony Pulis pointed to the injuries suffered by Matthew Etherington and Robert Huth in the leadup to the final as possible reasons for a below-par display. Both players started, but Etherington, in particular, was far from his best.
''Maybe we've run out of a bit of depth,'' Pulis said. ''We've reached a level of performances over the past six, seven weeks that have been very good.
''The greatest disappointment is that we didn't reach that level today. Full congratulations to Manchester City, they were the better team and they deserved to win.''