Rowell Report: Man City’s class told in second half against Sunderland

Ex-Sunderland footballer Gary Rowell

Ex-Sunderland footballer Gary Rowell

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MANCHESTER City might have taken the Capital One Cup back to the Etihad but Sunderland made them battle hard for 90 minutes and didn’t let anybody down.

Two stunning goals within the space of two minutes killed Sunderland off early in the second half and the third was a bit harsh on Sunderland.

Gus Poyet sprung a surprise with his starting line-up, playing Borini through the middle to lead the line and I thought he was superb in the first half, thoroughly deserving his goal to put us in front.

Borini’s movement and intelligent running caused problems for the City back four and he could have had a second if not for a last-ditch tackle from Vincent Kompany.

Who knows what might have happened if we could have got that second goal?

I’m not sure City would have been able to claw back a two-goal deficit and City might look back on Kompany’s tackle as just as important as any of their goals in the Cup triumph.

Did Sunderland switch off and lose concentration in that two-minute period that changed the course of the game?

That’s a question that has been asked but I’m not convinced that that’s true as there’s not too much you can do defensively with such quality goals as the ones we saw from Yaya Toure and Samir Nasri.

Going in at half-time one goal up, I had genuine hope that we could win, as the first-half performance was controlled and disciplined and the tactical plan was working a treat.

The second half was different though.

City upped the tempo but Sunderland were never out of the game until City’s third goal in the 90th minute.

Sunderland did have a chance to equalise though when the ball fell to Fletcher in the box with the scoreline 2-1 at the time.

But I think he was caught in two minds, failing to either shoot, or control the ball and the chance was gone.

Overall, two pieces of individual brilliance proved to be the difference and that’s what you get when you have City’s buying power.

The red and white army knew they could not have asked any more from their team in terms of effort.

The players gave it their best shot and left nothing on the pitch and they came up just short.

Gus Poyet said afterwards he was proud of his team and he should be.

I know I was, and I think the fans were too.

On the field, Sunderland gave one of the best teams in Europe a real run for their money.

And off the field, Sunderland’s fans came to enjoy themselves and were a massive credit to themselves and the city.

I think when the dust settles and the disappointment of defeat wears off, Sunderland will take a lot from the Capital One Cup final and we’ll find there were far more positives than negatives.