BY JOE COTTON
Manuel Pellegrini’s Manchester City defeated Premier League strugglers Sunderland 3-1 in the Capitol One cup final at Wembley stadium on Sunday to give Pellegrini his first trophy in English football. The two sides came into the game after contrasting seasons: City are title contenders, sitting in 4th place with two games in hand and the opportunity to go top of the league should they win both games and hope to progress in the champions league and FA Cup, whereas Sunderland just hope they can stay in the top flight, sitting just in the relegation zone in 18th place.
Sunderland initially took the lead in the first half through loan signing Fabio Borini, who has been on fine form recently for the Black Cats, and with that goal it seemed like city were doomed to a repeat of losing to the underdogs as they did in last season’s FA cup final to Wigan Athletic. Gus Poyet’s men played a fine first half and were deservedly leading going into the break, but it seemed Pellegrini’s half time talk energised his players with City’s Ivorian midfielder Yaya Toure bringing the scores level with a strike from 25 yards before France international Samir Nasri put the citizens in front almost instantly after the equaliser. If Sunderland had any hope of bringing the scores back, those hopes were dashed when City’s wide midfielder Jesus Navas put the final nail in the coffin in the final minute of the game.
The celebrations began for the blue half of Manchester at the final whistle, with inspired Sunderland walking away disappointed after being completely outplayed in the second half. Although originally bemused at the final whistle, Gus Poyet praised his side for a great performance all round and believes that Sunderland have displayed they have what it takes to avoid relegation. “We need [the fans] now,” Poyet said. “I’ve said from day one it was nearly an impossible job to stay in the Premier League.” Poyet, who took over from Paolo Di Canio in October with Sunderland at the bottom of the premier league, has managed to give the Black Cats hope of staying up in England’s top league with some big results since he replaced Di Canio.
In contrast to lowly Sunderland feeling bitter after the game, Manchester City were filled with absolute joy after fighting back and winning the game. City now hope to be the first team to win the domestic treble of the Capitol One cup, the FA cup and the Premier League in one season, with some players even believing they could turn the 2-0 defeat to Barcelona around and continue on to win the champions league and achieve a record breaking quadruple. Belgian captain Vincent Kompany said: “We’ve achieved something great at the club and we need to carry on,” urging his team to be hungry for even more success. Man of the match Samir Nasri is as hungry as anyone. “We want to win everything, Nasri said. “We’re going to compete for the league, for the FA cup and we’re going to try and make something happen in the champions league – it’s going to be difficult.” City are determined, but for the time being at least, the team and supporters are enjoying their cup win, with Argentinian striker Sergio Aguero tweeting a picture of himself with Oasis guitarist and life long City fan Noel Gallagher celebrating after the game.