WEAR off to Wembley!
Black Cats fans were continuing their celebrations today after seeing their team reach their first cup final in more than 20 years, beating Manchester United in a dramatic penalty shoot-out in the Capital One Cup.
Ecstatic supporters who watched the match, which ended 2-2 after extra time before the Wearsiders won 2-1 on spot kicks, described it as the “greatest ever”.
Ahead of kick-off, hopes were high that Sunderland could make it to Wembley after beating the Red Devils 2-1 in the first leg of their League Cup semi-final at the Stadium of Light.
But few predicted the excitement of the second leg, which saw Gus Poyet’s men triumph over the English champions at Old Trafford.
Almost 9,000 fans had made their way to the game, with a fleet of free coaches arranged by SAFC bosses departing from the Stadium of Light earlier in the day.
Back on Wearside, supporters packed into pubs, clubs and restaurants to watch the match live on TV.
Fans in The Chesters pub, in Chester Road, were among those celebrating after the final whistle.
Dad-of-two Dave Barker, 52, from Chester Road, said: “It was brilliant, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It must be the best game I’ve ever seen. The greatest Sunderland match I’ve watched.”
Fabricator Paul Ashurst, 58, from Millfield, said: “I thought we’d lost it at one point, but in the end we were worthy winners. I thought they were absolutely amazing.”
United had made it 2-2 on aggregate with Jonny Evans’s first-half header. Goalkeeper David De Gea spilled Phil Bardsley’s shot into his own net in the last minute of extra-time, but Javier Hernandez’s tap-in forced penalties. Seven spot kicks were missed as Sunderland triumphed 2-1.
Retired fitter Jim Stanness, 65, from Chester Road, said: “It’s a game we’ll never forget. It had everything. I thought we’d lost it at one point, but we deserved to win. We deserved to make it into the final.”
Store manager Marie Gilbertson, 51, from Farringdon, said: “I though we’d thrown it away when United equalised at the end, it was so tense, but we did it. It was fantastic, a real rollercoaster.”
Financial advisor John Gutcher, 55, from Pallion, said: “I’ve supported Sunderland since I was four years old. It’s just so amazing. I’ve gone through every emotion during this game.”
The last time Sunderland appeared in a Wembley cup final was in 1992 when they were beaten 2-0 by Liverpool in the FA Cup. They hadn’t reached a League Cup final since 1985, when they lost to Norwich,
But after watching their team beat Premiership outfits Southampton and Chelsea in previous rounds of the competition, Black Cats supporters had their sights set on Capital One Cup glory. Now they face Manchester City, who beat West Ham in the other semi-final, at Wembley.
Garage owner Mick Gilbertson, 51, from Farringdon, said: “I think we could go on and win it now, why not?.”
“We’ve been a bogey team for City.”