Man City wins FA Cup, 1st title in 35 years
Manchester City ended its 35-year trophy drought Saturday by winning the FA Cup after Yaya Toure's second-half goal secured a 1-0 win over Stoke.
Toure struck with an unstoppable shot in the 74th minute after Mario Balotelli's deflected effort fell into his path. The Ivory Coast midfielder was immediately mobbed by his teammates as City celebrated a deserved goal.
Roberto Mancini's expensively-assembled side had dominated the first half without reward, with Thomas Sorensen saving brilliantly from Balotelli and David Silva missing the target from close range.
Sorensen started in goal for Stoke with Carlo Nash on the bench.
The veteran Dane lost his starting job to former Canadian under-20 'keeper Asmir Begovic in October but retained his place for Stoke's FA Cup run.
Begovic now plays internationally for Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Stoke's best chance fell to Kenwyne Jones in the 61st minute but the striker was denied by City goalkeeper Joe Hart.
Tony Pulis's side piled forward in the closing minutes, but City's defence held firm and the final whistle was greeted by a roar of relief from the blue half of Wembley Stadium.
City's triumph came on the same day as cross-city rival Manchester United won its 19th English league title, but that was far from the minds of the City fans, some of whom shed tears as they celebrated a first trophy since the 1976 League Cup, and a fifth FA Cup win.
Stoke was playing in the FA Cup final for the first time in its 148-year history and the team's supporters were in fine voice as they sang the club's unofficial anthem, Tom Jones' Delilah, ahead of kickoff.
However, while the fans revelled in the Wembley experience, Stoke's players appeared to be overawed by the occasion as City dominated the first half.
Carlos Tevez, who recovered from a hamstring injury to lead the team, drew a good save from Sorensen after only five minutes, and the Danish goalkeeper was relieved to see Toure's thumping 35-metre effort go past his left-hand post in the 11th.
Sorensen again came to his side's rescue in the 24th by athletically palming away a shot from Balotelli that was heading for the top corner, but the best chance fell to Silva, who shot into the ground and over the bar with Sorensen out of position.
Stoke, as expected, relied on its set-piece expertise, but Rory Delap's first long throw was easily dealt with by City's defence and Jermaine Pennant struggled to find any accuracy with his free kicks.
Stoke settled after the break but its first sustained spell of pressure almost ended in the first goal for City, who broke from defending a free kick in the 55th and sent Tevez racing down the right.
Despite the attentions of two defenders, Tevez squared the ball to an unmarked Silva on the edge of the box but the Spanish winger took too much time to shoot and Stoke recovered.
As the game sparked into life, Tevez shot wide and at the other end, Stoke finally carved out a clearcut chance when Jones latched onto a long ball, escaped defender Joleon Lescott, only to be foiled by goalkeeper Hart.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 74th when Silva and Balotelli exchanged passes before the Italian striker's shot came off one defender and then rebounded off Wilson, with Toure finishing emphatically.
Watching in the crowd was his brother Kolo, who is serving a ban for a positive drugs test, but if Yaya wanted to run towards his sibling, his teammates had other ideas and piled on top of the elated midfielder.
With City having qualified for the Champions League, Stoke's players can at least comfort themselves with the knowledge they will be playing in Europe next season as they will take the Europa League place traditionally given to the FA Cup winners.