Man City beats Sunderland to win 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.
In a flat first-half by City, Fabio Borini put Premier League struggler Sunderland in front after 10 minutes, but there was more urgency after the break to ensure Manuel Pellegrini lifts at least one trophy in his first season as manager.
Toure curled in the equalizer in the 55th minute, Nasri quickly volleyed in the crucial second, and Jesus Navas netted City's 121st goal of the season by completing a late counterattack.
''I hope it will bring confidence for us to win the other trophies,'' Nasri said.
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.
After more than $1.5 billion of Abu Dhabi investment in less than six years, City has now won each of the domestic trophies in three years. Victory in the 2011 FA Cup final ended a 35-year trophy drought since the 1976 League Cup before the team won the Premier League in 2012.
But in the first-half on Sunday it looked like being another miserable trip to Wembley Stadium, having lost the FA Cup final to Wigan last May in Roberto Mancini's last game as manager.
City was unpicked after just 10 minutes when slack defending allowed Sunderland to pounce.
Fernandinho was dispossessed next to the Sunderland penalty area, allowing Seb Larsson to launch a counterattack before passing to Adam Johnson on the right wing. Johnson then sent the ball high down the flank to Borini, who easily slipped beyond captain Vincent Kompany before scoring low past Costel Pantilimon.
In response, there was little threat from a team which is six points off the top of the standings but with two games in hand.
Sergio Aguero, back after five games out with a hamstring injury, launched himself down the right flank midway through the first half. But after crossing to Nasri, the France midfielder's sight of goal was partially obscured by Lee Cattermole and it was a trouble-free save for Vito Mannone.
Making amends for his earlier slackness, a well-timed tackle by Kompany cut out Borini's run on goal - denying Sunderland a chance to double its lead.
Two exceptional moments inside two minutes in the second half swung the game in their favor.
Toure curled in a shot nonchalantly from 30 meters (yards), with the ball looping over Mannone into the corner of the net. The defensive midfielder's 17th goal of the season stung Sunderland.
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.
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.