A trophy is sweet, but redemption is sweeter. After last year’s debacle in the FA Cup, falling in the final to Wigan in the match that ultimately lost Roberto Mancini his job, Manuel Pellegrini has closed the deal.
Sunderland fought hard and held a halftime lead thanks to Fabio Borini’s quality goal from a tight angle, but two rapid-fire goals from the Sky Blues early in the second half earned the favorites the spoils with a 3-1 final scoreline.
City were having flashbacks of last year’s failures when Borini – just 10 minutes – in beat Vincent Kompany around the edge of the box and curled low past Costel Pantilimon.
Sunderland were bright all match, and certainly deserved their early lead, but City proved lethal on the break and their pace and precision were the Black Cats’ undoing.
After a lengthy spell of pressure, midfielder Yaya Toure leveled things up in the 55th minute with an absolute worldly goal which one would find themselves hard pressed to walk up and place the ball further into the top corner.
The goal, which looked so nonchalant from Toure that it caused some to speculate was actually a back-post cross that accidentally went in, broke Sunderland’s hearts and it showed immediately.
Just one minute later, Samir Nasri latched onto a cross from Pablo Zabaleta on the left edge of the box and fired a laser past Vito Mannone for the lead. Having lost his previous two cup finals with Arsenal and Manchester City, it’s fitting that Nasri scored the winner on his third go.
Sunderland provided top competition for City, but with American striker Jozy Altidore out of the squad altogether, Steven Fletcher bungled a few chances and substitute Jesus Navas put the game away in extra time with a third for Pellegrini.
The victory hands the first trophy of the English soccer season to Manchester City, and marks their first League Cup since 1976.