FA Cup Final Recap: Reaction in the press

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 14: Thomas Sorensen of Stoke City looks on after Yaya Toure (L) of Manchester City celebrates with Adam Johnson (R) and Mario Balotelli after scoring during the FA Cup sponsored by E.ON Final match between Manchester City and Stoke City at Wembley Stadium on May 14, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Daniel Taylor, The Observer:

On the balance of play, there could be little argument that it was a deserved victory, too. Stoke threatened only sporadically, a 15-minute period at the start of the second half and then one last, desperate onslaught in the three minutes of stoppage time. That apart, however, Mancini's team played with control and poise. They pinned their opponents back at times and had enough chances to have won with something to spare.

Duncan White, The Telegraph:

With 16 minutes to go, David Silva played the ball into Mario Balotelli in the penalty area. The Italian hit an extravagant backheel which broke back to Silva, who passed back to Balotelli. His shot was part-blocked and then hit Marc Wilson, with the ball dropping in front of Touré, who caught it clean with his left foot on the rise. It arrowed low and bullet-quick into the net. 

Stuart Brennan, MEN:

It was a Niagara of joy, a cascade of delight, a breach of a 35-year dam of frustration, heartache, despair and disillusion. And it washed down the Wembley stands in a sky blue torrent, so palpable and raw that you felt the celebrating players on the pitch were in danger of being washed away.

Rob Draper, The Mail:

When Yaya Toure struck from inside the penalty area on 74 minutes, after some superb work from David Silva and Mario Balotelli, he broke what sometimes had seemed to be the longest curse in football history.

Even as the net bulged, the infamous banner at Old Trafford which celebrates the length of City's trophy drought was being dismantled.

By then there was no doubt that City would complete the task. So utterly had they dominated possession, so poorly had Stoke played, that it seemed inconceivable that City, even with their reputation for catastrophe, could concede the game. So it proved.

Steve Tongue, The Independent:

Yaya Touré, scorer of the goal that beat United in the semi-final, did the trick again. His team's domination against desperately disappointing opposition, unable to play either their own game or anybody else's, had produced only a couple of real chances, bothdenied expertly by Thomas Sorensen in goal. They remained patient, however, and were rewarded after some interplay involving three of the more creative players - Carlos Tevez, David Silva and Mario Balotelli.

Richard Williams, The Guardian:

Nevertheless, the success on Saturday had its own special significance in unblocking the frustration that built up at City over the past four decades, hugely exacerbated over the past 20 years by the relentless success of their neighbours. Now the club and their supporters have something substantial to build on.

James Lawson, The Independent:

Fortunately for City, and the spectacle, Touré seized his moment with the power and the certainty that marked his winner against Manchester United in the semi-final and it helped that whenever Balotelli touched the ball there were new and striking possibilities.

Paul Hayward, The Guardian:

When this season started Sheikh Mansour's net spend on Manchester City had already soared to £650m, and we all wondered what kind of gratification he would want in return for such an outlandish binge. Qualifying for next season's Champions League was handy, but it was the battered old FA Cup that made City feel like a force again.

Jeremy Wilson, The Telegraph:

Admiration is also due for the selfless way he adapted to a slightly unfamiliar role to the left of Manchester City's 4-2-3-1 formation. The system allowed Mancini to extract the maximum from Yaya Toure and Carlos Tévez, although it was still Balotelli who shone most frequently. His curling first-half shot was destined for the top corner until Thomas Sorensen produced what was accurately described by Tony Pulis as "the save of the season". 

Henry Winter, The Telegraph:

The widow of the late, great Joe Mercer was present. So was the widow of Neil Young, the scorer of their Cup final winner in 1969. When Young passed away from cancer in February, Book urged the City players to go and win the Cup as a fitting tribute to the former player. Mancini's chosen ones delivered on that promise.    

Kevin McCarra, The Guardian:

This was a dress rehearsal on the Wembley stage. The FA Cup will be particularly cherished by a club without a notable prize since that League Cup 35 years ago, but this trophy must also be seen as practice for a club intent on handling greater honours.

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