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Published on March 3rd, 2014 | by Daniel Cheeseman

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Kevin Parker Interview + “No more woes from our ‘bogey’ foes!” – The City Nitty Gritty

Finally, after five failed attempts in a row, City have finally beaten Sunderland away from home – and when it mattered most!

I must admit, after our performance in the first half, I thought that it was going to be another one of those dreary 1-0 defeats to the Black Cats, where they would somehow manage to hang on to the lead for the rest of the match by throwing 11 men behind the ball – but that wasn’t the case this time!

The day in the life of a City fan began, for most (including me), with a long trip down to North London in the early hours of Sunday morning, in order to make it in time for the 2 o’clock deadline for kick-off. But upon arrival, something was quite obvious, this year it wasn’t City’s final – it was Sunderland’s. Wembley Way, which has been a haven for City fans in the past few seasons, was re-possessed by Sunderland fans on this occasion.

I suppose it was expected though, as the last time Sunderland played a game at Wembley was in 1992, when it was still the old Wembley – so this was surely going to be a special day for them.

wembley 2However, a few familiar faces could still be seen on the newly branded ‘Olympic Way’ – one of which was my dad Ian Cheeseman.

He was up to his usual antics – interviewing some of the lingering City fans for BBC Radio Manchester’s pre-match build-up (maybe you were one of them!) and soaking up the unique atmosphere of Cup Final day.

As it got closer to kick-off, the fans and media gradually made their way into England’s home of football, and finally began to focus their attention on what was going on inside the stadium.

Tom Jenkins Capital OneAfter an impressive opening ceremony, which featured everything from a woman who acrobatically danced around with the Capital One Cup trophy while dangling from a giant inflatable ball, to an array of fireworks and flame-throwing pyrotechnics, it was now time to get to the “City Nitty Gritty”.

One of the Blues’ main problems this season is that they have, at times, took too long to kick in to gear when playing against some of the “lesser” teams. So if there ever was a time or a place to ‘turn it on’, this was it.

In the post match interviews, Manuel Pellegrini seemed to deny that he said anything special to the players during his half-time team talk, but the fact that City looked a completely different side once they had re-emerged from the tunnel, makes you think that his “speech” had a lot to do with it.

I put myself in the Sunderland players’ and fans’ shoes in the second half, as I thought back to a similar situation that we were in 3 years ago – when Yaya Toure put us ahead against United in the semi-final of the FA Cup. I remembered thinking how painfully slow the clock went after Yaya’s goal, and how United had more than enough quality to be able to turn the game around in the blink of an eye. So when I put myself in their situation, I knew that both the fans and the players would be extremely nervous (just like we were), and it was there for all to see in the second half.

It took two world class goals from Yaya Toure and Samir Nasri for us to finally take the lead, but City were the much better team in the second half anyway, and it seemed like it was only going to be a matter of time until they broke Sunderland down.

mcfc navas goalSpanish subs Jesus Navas, Javi Garcia and Alvaro Negredo saw out the game when they came on for Sergio Aguero, David Silva and Edin Dzeko in the latter stages of the match, and showcased once again the strength in depth that Manuel Pellegrini has at his disposal.

Jesus Navas extinguished all hopes of a Sunderland equaliser in the 89th minute, when he coolly slotted home after an explosive counter-attack from the immaculate Yaya Toure, making the scoreline 3-1.

This win now means that City have won all 4 domestic cups within 3 years, who would have thought that we’d be saying that, when not long ago we were still waiting for our first major trophy in 35 years!

Don’t forget that we are already in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, so if we can manage to get past Wigan, who knows, we could be back here again very soon!

– Daniel Cheeseman

 

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