Swansea batter Bradford in Cup final mismatch
Swansea City won the first major trophy in their history, overwhelming Bradford City 5-0 in the Capital One Cup final at Wembley.
First-half goals from Nathan Dyer and Michu put Michael Laudrup’s side in complete control of a keenly-awaited game that turned into a painful mismatch.
Dyer added a third early in the second half, before Bradford keeper Matt Duke was sent off for a foul on Dyer that resulted in a penalty.
After a bizarre tussle between a furious Dyer and Jonathan De Guzman over who should take the penalty, the latter buried it into the left corner.
The 10 men of Bradford looked like they would be spared further agony as Swansea backed off, though Dyer – desperate to complete his hat-trick – continued his complaints to Laudrup when he was substituted.
But there was still time for De Guzman to grab his second and Swansea’s fifth in stoppage time.
Fourth-tier Bradford claimed three Premier League scalps en route to Wembley, but produced no sign of the heroics that saw them knock out Wigan, Arsenal and Aston Villa.
The afternoon started amid an atmosphere of euphoric anticipation – no sense of the League Cup being a poor relation to the other forms of silverware.
Both sides are a few years removed from nearly dropping out of the Football League, and the 90,000 fans embraced the occasion with unbridled enthusiasm.
Yet within seconds of kick-off, the scale of the task facing Bradford became apparent. They could hardly get a touch, as Swansea passed the ball slickly around.
On the quarter-hour mark, the breakthrough came. Hitherto solid in defence, Bradford went on a rare foray upfield only to get caught on the break.
Matt Duke got a hand on Michu’s shot from the edge of the box, and Dyer got to the rebound first to finish from close range.
Bradford tried to respond, but found themselves powerless. Swansea’s pressing gave them no time on the ball, and when they knocked it long striker James Hanson found himself hopelessly isolated.
The second came five minutes before the break and oozed top-flight class. Pablo Hernandez passed through Gary Jones’s legs to find Michu who had time to turn and nutmegged defender Carl McHugh as he shot into the bottom-right corner.
Bradford kept the deficit at two until the break, but it was still a chastening half in which they managed no attempts on goal and no corners.
If the underdogs resolved to make a strong start to the second period, their plans were undone within three minutes.
Dyer exchanged passes with Wayne Routledge, via a Michu dummy, and tucked the ball into the net.
The winger looked set for his hat-trick on 56 minutes when he took the ball past Duke, but the goalkeeper tripped him for a clear penalty.
Although a red card seemed unnecessary given the game was already out of hand, referee Kevin Friend had no alternative since Duke denied a direct goalscoring opportunity.
After fighting off Dyer, De Guzman scored. Bradford then enjoyed their best spell of the game, with their first corner on 86 minutes greeted rapturously.
But Swansea had the final say, as De Guzman met an Angel Rangel cross with a precise finish to complete the largest winning margin in League Cup final history.