Magic moments help City sink Sunderland in League Cup final

Sun Mar 2, 2014 1:29pm EST
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By Martyn Herman

LONDON (Reuters) - Two moments of magic inside two second-half minutes helped Manchester City avoid a second successive Wembley meltdown on Sunday as they landed the season's first silverware with a 3-1 victory over Sunderland in the English League Cup final.

Memories of last season's FA Cup final defeat by relegation-bound Wigan Athletic were re-surfacing as Manuel Pellegrini's side trailed to Fabio Borini's clinical 10th-minute strike.

This time, however, City's slickers showed their pedigree with Yaya Toure's spectacular curling shot and Samir Nasri's piledriver turning the final on its head.

Relegation-threatened Sunderland continued to dream of a first piece of silverware since their epic 1973 FA Cup final defeat of Leeds United with an impressive response before Jesus Navas finished them off in the 90th minute.

It was City's first League Cup title since 1976 and keeps alive their hopes of an unprecedented domestic treble in Pellegrini's first season - but it was never straightforward.

"Maybe what happened last year at Wembley was in their minds in the first half," Chilean Pellegrini, who picked up his first major trophy as a European coach after a lengthy but fruitless spell in Spain, told reporters.

"But the important thing was to calm the players and let them trust in what they can do."

With City in the last eight of the FA Cup and six points off the top of the Premier league with two games in hand, Pellegrini said capturing the League Cup could prove pivotal.   Continued...

Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany holds aloft the trophy after defeating Sunderland to win the English League Cup final soccer match at Wembley Stadium in London March 2, 2014. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett