The Ivorian midfielder scored a memorable cup final goal to kick start his side’s recovery for Manuel Pellegrini’s first trophy in England
By Greg Stobart at Wembley
For 55 minutes, Manchester City seemed to have little idea of how they might break down Sunderland’s resolute defence.
A goal down after Fabio Borini’s 10th minute opener for the underdogs, they seemed to be banking on a moment of individual quality to turn the game and win them the Capital One Cup.
|VIEW FROM WEMBLEY
|By Greg Stobart
It was great to see the Sunderland supporters stay to applaud their side after a superb effort from Gus Poyet’s men.
In the end, Manchester City’s extra quality told with two sensational goals from Yaya Toure and Samir Nasri to turn the game on its head before Jesus Navas sealed the victory.
Above all, though, it was a fantastic cup final to watch – let’s hope the FA Cup final in May can offer the same level of entertainment.
It arrived from a man who seems like he was born for these occasions.
Yaya Toure scored the type of goal that no-one else on the pitch – not even Sergio Aguero – could replicate.
It was one of the great Wembley goals. The ball was laid off to Toure 30 yards from the goal at the west end of this famous stadium and the Ivorian curled a beautiful finish into the top corner.
The technique was perfect, the ball placed into an area that left Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone with absolutely no chance.
The game had until then looked like it might be going the same way as the FA Cup final defeat to Wembley last May, which probably made sure Roberto Mancini lost his job.
City’s greatest opponents today were perhaps themselves – but when they needed the leadership, character and quality of true winners, their big players came through.
Toure has now scored 17 goals from central midfield this season in all competitions and he has taken his Wembley tally to three strikes, having scored in 1-0 wins in both the semi-final and final of the FA Cup triumph in 2011.
That 2011 victory was City’s first major trophy in 35 years. This year they are going for an unlikely quadruple.
The hope of four trophies is likely to be reduced to three after the second leg of their Champions League clash with Barcelona on March 12, but with the people like Toure around you can’t rule out the possibility that Manuel Pellegrini’s men could overturn a 2-0 deficit.
His goal changed the whole mood around Wembley and barely 60 seconds later the 30,000 City fans in north London were in delirium as Samir Nasri slammed home a wonderful finish of his own from the edge of the box.
Sunderland responded bravely, but City looked comfortable once they went ahead, controlling possession and moving the ball quickly to their more creative players.
In the final minute of normal, Toure turned provider with a typical driving run on the counter-attack before he fed Jesus Navas to steer in City’s third.
But it all came from that one moment of genius out of nothing. They say the great players define the big games and Yaya has produced in such moments more than anyone else around.
A defeat here could have seen City begin a slide of sorts, with a Champions League exit looking likely and their battle with Chelsea for the Premier League title set to go to the wire.
Now they can focus on a possible quadruple. They have one in the bag – and for that they have Toure to thank.
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