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Manchester City win FA Cup

Manchester City win FA Cup to end drought
By Eurosport

15/05/2011 at 01:57Updated 15/05/2011 at 06:02

Manchester City claimed their first piece of silverware for 35 years as Yaya Toure's second half strike gave Roberto Mancini's side a 1-0 win over Stoke City in the FA Cup final at Wembley.

Toure pounced to slam home an emphatic finish in the 74th minute to breach Stoke's obdurate defence and give City their first trophy since 1976.

    The Cup victory provided the proverbial icing on the cake for Mancini's side, who clinched their primary objective of delivering a top-four finish for a Champions League spot next season, while it sealed a memorable day for the city of Manchester after United won the Premier League title.

    Both Carlos Tevez and Matthew Etherington were handed starting berths after passing late fitness tests, while City boss Mancini selected a surprisingly attacking side involving Mario Balotelli and David Silva.

    City had the best of the early exchanges with both Tevez and Toure giving Thomas Sorensen early concerns with rasping strikes from range while both sets of fans implored their players to press forward as the first half began at a frenetic pace.

    There was a jaw-dropping moment in the 15th minute as Robert Huth appeared to fling an elbow into Balotelli's chin as the pair jostled for the ball deep inside the Stoke half, and the German was fortunate that referee Martin Atkinson was unsighted.

    In what was Stoke City's first FA Cup final, the Potters started the match in rather apprehensive fashion, but they repelled City's early advances and began to settle as Jonathan Walters and Kenwyne Jones combined to good effect to trouble Vincent Kompany and Joleon Lescott respectively.

    Balotelli showed his class in the 24th minute with a slick swivel to turn Andy Wilkinson before the Italian curled an exquisite shot towards the far corner of the net, only for Sorensen to brilliantly tip the ball wide.

    There were vociferous appeals for hand ball from Stoke on the half hour as Kompany controlled the ball in the City box, but referee Atkinson saw nothing wrong with the defender's intervention. Replays showed the ball rear up viciously at the Belgian's arm, but it was entirely inadvertent.

    Five minutes later, City squandered the best chance of the half as Balotelli latched on to Tevez's incisive through ball with Silva scuffing his shot into the ground and wide with the goal gaping at his mercy as the ball broke loose.

    Stoke encountered a problem with both wingers: Etherington appeared a relatively anonymous presence out on the left and was later replaced on the hour mark, while Jermaine Pennant sustained an ankle injury on the stroke of half-time but remarkably made it out for the second period.

    Silva spurned another glorious opportunity to break the deadlock in the 57th minute as the Spaniard dallied in painstaking fashion to enable Ryan Shawcross to scamper back and dispossess him, who had been put clean through on goal following fine work from Tevez out on the right.

    Jones should have scored in the 62nd minute as he was put through on goal courtesy of an exquisite pass from Etherington, but the forward lacked conviction and England goalkeeper Joe Hart pulled off a stunning save to smother the ball.

    Adam Johnson was introduced at the expense of Gareth Barry in the 72nd minute as Mancini sought to inject a cutting edge into City's forward play in what was a very attacking change from the Italian.

    Just two minutes later, the deadlock was finally broken. Balotelli and Silva produced slick interplay inside the Stoke box before the onrushing Toure lashed home a quite stunning strike beyond the helpless Sorensen to prompt pandemonium from his team-mates in celebration.

    It is debatable whether wages in excess of £200,000 a week are ever justified, but City's accountants will be happy to sign off the Ivorian's cheque this month.

    Pulis was forced to react swiftly, and his response was to form a three-pronged attack with Walters, Jones and the lumbering forward John Carew as the onus switched for City to defend stoutly, which they duly did.

    Stoke were unable to muster a late equaliser despite their valiant advances as City preserved their slender lead to end 35 years without a piece of silverware and, in so doing, surely force the removal of the infamous ticker from Old Trafford's Stretford End.