Match report: Swansea City beat Bradford to win Capital One Cup
THE big fairytale may have lost out to the little fairytale, but Hans Christian Andersen would have approved.
Michael Laudrup, the fairytale writer's fellow Dane, came to Wales and won a major trophy.
Swansea City must make room in the dusty cabinet in the foyer at the Liberty Stadium.
Someone will have to move the shield they got for playing a friendly against Jamaica, and the manager of the month prizes which are used to fill the gaps.
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For Swansea are the holders of the Capital One Cup.
In 101 years of existence they have never previously come close to such a mighty achievement.
In fact they have spent most of that time as one of football's also-rans.
Not this Swansea side.
Laudrup's men performed like serial winners at Wembley yesterday, demolishing a Bradford City team whose glorious cup run came to an end in spectacularly painful fashion.
Nathan Dyer and Jonathan de Guzman scored two goals each, while Michu — inevitably — got in on the act as Swansea chalked up the most comprehensive victory ever seen in the final of this competition.
For Bradford this was painful, for the League Two side were simply swept aside by ruthless opponents.
For Swansea it was an afternoon to cherish, one of the great moments in the history of this club who have marked their centenary season in sensational style.
They will still be talking about this triumph when Swansea are 200 years old.
Bradford may have stolen much of the limelight in the build-up, but this was a day some Swansea supporters thought they would never see.
This is a club who, on more than one occasion, have come within a whisker of going to the wall.
This is a club who have had to beg for re-election — and then fight their own way back from the edge of the abyss.
It was less than a decade ago that Swansea were taking on a Yorkshire club with amber in their shirt knowing defeat would have seen them drop out of the Football League.
Almost ten years on from that game against Hull City, Bradford stood between Swansea and the League Cup.
The stakes were lower here, though there was still tension in the air as Ashley Williams led Laudrup's team out.
Happily for the black and white thousands in the stands, the anxiety did not spread to the pitch.
Laudrup's side stamped their authority right from the outset, stroking the ball around as if this was a run-of-the-mill training session.
It took Bradford over a minute to get a touch of the ball — and that was when Rory McArdle's block put it out for a corner.
Laudrup's decision to play Ki Sung-Yueng in central defence in the absence of Chico Flores was a brave call.
But in truth Swansea's back four were rarely troubled in a game in which the heavy favourites dominated. The bookies called this one exactly right.
Swansea passed the ball around with typical assurance, leaving Phil Parkinson's team working overtime just to close any gaps in the final third.
They did not always manage it.
Swansea threatened first on 14 minutes, Dyer advancing down the right flank and then rolling the ball back for Angel Rangel.
His loopy cross did not look the most menacing, but Ben Davies arrived at the far post and sent a header back across the face of Matt Duke's goal.
The ball bounced a yard wide of the upright, but Swansea very quickly came calling again.
The goal came on a rare counter, Bradford making a rare foray into Swansea's half and then paying a heavy price when they lost possession on the edge of the area.
Jonathan de Guzman started the break, feeding Wayne Routledge for a surge at the heart of the Bantams' defence.
Routledge carried the ball and then switched play left for Michu, whose shot was arrowed towards the far corner.
Duke got across to his left to make the save, but only succeeded in parrying the ball in Dyer's direction.
Swansea's right winger gobbled up the golden chance, sliding the ball inside the post.
On the touchline, Laudrup pumped both fists. This was the start Swansea had dreamed of.
Bradford's supporters demanded a response, but Swansea refused to be ruffled.
They kept playing, kept passing — and Bradford kept battling just to keep Laudrup's frontmen at bay.
Such was Swansea's control that even Leon Britton managed an effort on goal, the midfield anchor firing a 25-yarder which sliced wide of the target.
Swansea were in total command, and their nerve-settling second goal arrived four minutes before the break.
Davies started the move, finding Pablo Hernandez in space 30 yards from goal.
He rolled the ball through Gary Jones's legs and into Michu, whose measured shot nutmegged Carl McHugh and rolled into the far corner.
Swansea might have stretched the lead before the interval, but Routledge's shot was pushed over by Duke.
No matter, the third goal came right at the start of the second period.
Ki stepped out of defence to intercept a Bradford pass and fed Dyer, who scampered up the right before feeding Routledge on the edge of the box.
Dyer galloped on to accept the return ball and, after cutting inside on to his left foot, steered the ball inside the far post.
This was close to game over. When Duke felled de Guzman eight minutes later, it was.
Swansea's Dutch midfielder would have had a tap-in but for Duke's foul, so the goalkeeper was shown red as the last man.
Dyer squabbled with de Guzman over who was going to take Swansea's first penalty of the season.
But he cheered when de Guzman rifled the spot-kick beyond Bradford's substitute keeper, John McLaughlin, running across the pitch to celebrate with his team-mate.
Bradford's run to this final has been extraordinary, one of the great cup stories. But now their race was run, the dream of becoming the first fourth-tier side to win one of English football's big prizes was in ruins.
Garry Monk arrived from the bench as Swansea set about adding to their tally, and Michu was a matter of inches away with left-foot shot after a nice exchange with Dyer.
Ashley Williams, who was in command at the back throughout, almost got in on the act at the other end, meeting Hernandez's cross with his right knee.
McLaughlin made a comfortable save, but there was still more work for Bradford's weary defenders.
Last time they came to Wembley, Swansea had to cope with the agony of Reading's second-half revival.
There was never any sign of a comeback here, for Bradford did not even muster a shot on target until Jones's weak effort in the dying minutes.
And fittingly, it was Swansea who had the final word in stoppage time.
The moment seemed to have gone when Michu's point-blank effort was saved and substitute Dwight Tiendalli's measured follow-up hit both bar and post. But Swansea came again, Hernandez feeding Angel Rangel down the right.
His low cross was met at the near post by de Guzman, who rounded off Swansea's extraordinary day by steering the ball home at the near post.
Job done — and in style.
Bradford may have been the more unlikely finalists, but no-one should be fooled.
Swansea's triumph is some fairytale too.