Swansea City beat Bradford 5-0 to win Capital One Cup
SWANSEA City won their first ever major trophy in dazzling style as they overwhelmed Bradford to clinch the Capital One Cup with a 5-0 triumph at Wembley.
Two goals from Nathan Dyer and Jonathan de Guzman, as well as one from Michu, gave Michael Laudrup's men a handsome victory over their League Two opponents, whose misery was compounded by a red card for their goalkeeper Matt Duke.
That second-half dismissal had little bearing on the outcome, however, as Swansea had by that point already built an unassailable 3-0 lead with a characteristically classy performance.
It was a somewhat cruel end to Bradford's romantic cup run, though their fans sang with gusto in the closing stages as both sets of supporters soaked up the stirring atmosphere of a rare appearance in a leading final.
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For so long the preserve of Premier League royalty since its reopening in 2007, Wembley threw its doors open to two clubs who have contested more administrations and bankruptcies than they have cup finals.
Swansea, now an established top-flight side, assumed the role of favourites against their fourth-tier opponents but this was not a prototypical David and Goliath clash.
As Laudrup succinctly put it in his pre-match press conference, this was a match between the underdog and the under-under-underdog.
Laudrup chose the ultimate occasion to make one of the boldest selections of his Swansea reign, naming the midfielder Ki Sung-Yueng at centre-back.
With Chico Flores unavailable, the Swans had been expected to turn to Kyle Bartley or club captain Garry Monk to deputise.
But Laudrup opted for Ki as he sought to dominate possession and suffocate Bradford – a tactic which looked like working as Swansea completed the first minute of the match without allowing their League Two opponents a single touch of the ball.
As expected, the gulf in technical ability between the sides was vast, but it was from a rapid counter-attack that Swansea opened the scoring.
Bradford launched the ball long and speculatively towards the Swans' box, but it fell to Jonathan de Guzman who passed to Wayne Routledge.
Routledge then surged into the Bradford half and fed Michu. The Spaniard's low shot was palmed away by Bradford goalkeeper Matt Duke but only as far as Nathan Dyer, who slid in on the rebound to spark pandemonium in the Swansea end.
The 16th-minute opener seemed to banish any nerves the Swans might have felt in their role as overwhelming favourites, while it punctured Bradford's hopes of causing yet another upset.
For long periods, Laudrup's men seemed content to keep the ball without over-exerting themselves, but they sprung back into life shortly before half time.
Pablo Hernandez found Michu with a delightful pass through the legs of Bradford captain Gary Jones, and Michu then produced a nutmeg of his own as he curled the ball between Carl McHugh's feet and into the bottom corner.
Even with a 2-0 lead at half time, Swansea looked capable of upping the ante, and so they did two minutes after the restart when Dyer got his second with a thumping left-footed finish.
Bradford's impossible task then grew even taller when Duke was sent off for tripping de Guzman as the Dutchman bore down on goal following a mesmerising Swansea move.
Desperate to complete his hat-trick, Dyer pleaded with de Guzman to take the resultant penalty but, to the winger's visible displeasure, de Guzman ignored his claims and despatched his spot-kick superbly into the bottom corner.
The rest of the match was a procession for Swansea, who had the luxury of being able to bring on club captain Garry Monk for a popular cameo.
With victory long secured, de Guzman then finished smartly to make it 5-0 in injury time and ensure that Swansea won their first ever major cup with a flourish.