Two goals in as many minutes helped Manchester City beat Sunderland 3-1 in a compelling Capital One Cup final at Wembley.
Fabio Borini gave Sunderland the early advantage with a well-taken 10th-minute strike, but glorious finishes from Yaya Toure and Samir Nasri just shy of the hour mark turned the game on its head, and with it brought the League Cup back to the blue half of Manchester for the first time since 1976.
The Citizens wrapped up the victory in the last minute, as Jesús Navas capitalised on the stretched Sunderland defence to stroke in a third.
Despite a strong start from Manuel Pellegrini’s side, it was the underdogs who drew first blood against the run of play with barely 10 minutes on the clock.
Adam Johnson, perhaps aggrieved at not being named in Roy Hodgson’s 30-man squad for England’s forthcoming friendly against Denmark, spotted the run of Borini. The Italian shrugged off the challenge of Kompany, and showed great composure in curling the ball with his left foot low beyond Costel Pantilimon.
It was a well-measured assist from the former City winger, but the Belgian centre-half will not have been happy that he failed to deal with the chipped through-ball, outmuscled as he was by striker on loan from Liverpool.
City continued to show signs of complacency at the back, as Martín Demichelis switched off from a throw-in. Were it not for a scrambled clearance from Fernandinho, Johnson looked set to capitalise.
Sunderland were not so dormant defensively, as Phil Bardsley, who scored the winner at the Stadium of Light when these two sides faced each other in the league in November, made an important last-ditched tackle to deny Nasri a point-blank effort.
City were in need of inspiration, and it duly arrived ten minutes into the second half.
Toure, having toiled for 55 minutes in one of his quietest games of the season, cajoled his teammates into life with one of the greatest strikes to grace the new Wembley turf.
The Ivorian picked the ball from Pablo Zabaleta in the inside right position and unleashed a looping effort from fully 35 yards that sailed over the bewildered Mannone and dipped into the top right corner.
City had now hit their stride. Sunderland needed to dig deep. But there would be no reprieve, as within a minute, the Sky Blues were ahead.
Wes Brown failed to deal with a long hopeful ball, and when Silva fed the advanced Alexsandar Kolarov, his cross was deflected into the path of Samir Nasri. The France international’s right-foot drive beyond the static Mannone turned the game on its head.
Sunderland streamed forward in desperate search of an equaliser, but it was City who sealed the victory in the final minute.
Navas, who had entered the fray in place of Agüero shortly after the second goal, converted Toure’s through pass at the near post.
The Citizens will hope to use Pellegrini’s first trophy in England as the springboard for a more concerted push towards being crowned champions of a compelling Premier League season.