Yaya Toure hails his 'best-ever' goal after firing Manchester City to League Cup win
Ivory Coast midfielder comes to the rescue with sublime equaliser at Wembley
Yaya Toure hailed the stunning strike which inspired Manchester City’s 3-1 League Cup final victory over Sunderland as the best of his career.
With City struggling to recover from the shock of Fabio Borini’s early opener for Sunderland, it was Ivory Coast midfielder Toure who came to the rescue with a sublime equaliser in the 55th minute at Wembley on Sunday.
Toure had been unusually quiet for much of City’s spluttering start, but once again he proved the man for the big occasion as he stepped up in typically languid fashion to curl a first-time effort into the top corner of Vito Mannone’s goal from 30 yards out.
It was a glorious goal fit to grace any occasion and will surely go down as one of the best in Wembley’s long and illustrious history.
More importantly for Toure and City, it sparked his previously lethargic team into life and less than two minutes later Samir Nasri put City ahead.
A Jesus Navas strike in the final moments finally killed off spirited Sunderland, but it was Toure’s moment of magic that made the difference and even the former Barcelona star admitted he was surprised by the quality of his goal.
“It was unbelievable. We needed to win today, it was very important,” Toure said.
“Sunderland made it difficult for us in the first half but we deserved it.
“We need to enjoy it because today we showed we have a great team. I think it was my best goal.”
City’s second half fightback was a relief to captain Vincent Kompany, whose mistake had led to Borini’s 10th minute goal.
Kompany conceded City had been below their best in the first half, but he was still delighted to lift the club’s first League Cup trophy since 1976.
“This means everything,” Kompany said. “You have got to cherish every trophy and this is another.
“We had to step it up in the second half. Our first half performance was not up to standard.”
For Nasri, whose fine goal wasn’t far behind Toure’s in the style stakes, there was a sense of satisfaction as he ended his personal run of Cup final woe.
Nasri knew what it was like to be on the wrong end of a Wembley upset after losing the 2011 League Cup final with Arsenal against Birmingham and then last season in the FA Cup final as City were shocked by Wigan.
“I feel so much joy, so much pride,” Nasri said. “I lost the two finals that I played here before. Today it was really important to win.
“In the second half, we came with intention and scored three goals.
“We said we needed to stay calm and remain focused, play higher up and play with more tempo and that’s what we did.”
With City in contention for the Premier League title and the FA Cup, and also hopeful of recovering a 2-0 first leg deficit against Barcelona in the Champions League, French star Nasri believes this triumph can be the springboard for even greater success.
“We want to win everything,” he said. “We’re going to compete for the league, the FA Cup and we’re going to try to make something in the Champions League.
“I hope this is going to bring confidence and we’ll fight until the end.”
Sunderland captain John O’Shea admitted his relegation-threatened team’s second half meltdown was hugely frustrating after such a strong start.
“We’re terribly disappointed. We started the game exactly how we wanted to. We counter-attacked and scored a fantastic goal,” he said.
“They’ve scored a great goal to get back into it and we lost a bit of organisation for a few minutes. It cost us the second goal.
“City finished very strong. We have a huge test for the rest of the season and we have to pick ourselves up quickly and I’m sure we will.”