London: Swansea City got their hands on a first-ever major trophy courtesy of a romping 5-0 Capital One Cup final win over Bradford City at Wembley.
The gulf in class between the two sides was evident from the off and, having already put the Premier League’s Wigan, Arsenal and Aston Villa to the sword, the challenge of Michael Laudrup’s team proved a step too far for the League Two outfit.
Nathan Dyer’s close-range finish and Michu’s fine strike gave the Swans a seemingly insurmountable lead at the interval before Dyer stroked home and Jonathan De Guzman scored from first the spot and then the near post to ensure that Laudrup laid claim to the first major silverware of the English season.
After being rested against Liverpool, the Swans` top scorer, Michu, and captain, Ashley Williams, were welcomed back into the starting XI along with Dyer, Angel Rangel and Wayne Routledge. In the absence of Chico Flores, Ki Sung-Yueng was called on as a makeshift centre-back.
Phil Parkinson made just one change to the side that started both legs of the semi-final against Aston Villa, with Garry Thompson replacing Zavon Hines.
The game quickly set into the pattern that was to define the entire 90 minutes, with Swansea entirely dictating matters and after a period of sustained pressure, the Premier League club found themselves a goal to the good on 17 minutes.
Routledge drove with intent through the middle before sliding the ball to Michu. The Spaniard’s effort was well saved by Matt Duke, though the Bantams goalkeeper could only palm the ball into the path of the onrushing Dyer, who poked in from close range.
A second goal always threatened and eventually came five minutes before the interval, off the back of another period of patient build-up play.
However, Bradford were made to pay for allowing Michu the same kind of space they had granted Swansea’s deeper-lying players, as the striker notched his 19th goal of the season by collecting Hernandez’s measured pass and whipping an unchallenged left-footed strike just inside the far post.
Swansea effectively ended the tie just two minutes after the interval with Dyer adding a third after some intricate play around the edge of the area, finishing emphatically after cutting back in on his left foot.
Bradford’s misery was further compounded 10 minutes later when a flowing Swansea attack was prematurely ended when Duke tripped De Guzman in the box. The Bantams keeper was duly sent off and after protracted squabbles between the fouled man and Dyer, the Dutchman nonchalantly tucked home a penalty to make it four.
Michu passed just wide of the post and Williams kneed straight at substitute keeper Jon McLaughlin as a horribly one-sided affair reached its latter stages. Michu hit the post before De Guzman fired in at the near post to hand the Swans the biggest winning margin in League Cup final history.
The result proved a resounding culmination of an impressive Capital One Cup campaign for the Swans, adding to the fine body of work achieved by Laudrup in an eye-catching first term at the Welsh club who have now ensured Europa League football for next season.