Swansea exposed the gulf in class over Bradford City as they ended the League Two side’s dreams of claiming the Capital One Cup with a dominant performance to win in the final at Wembley Stadium, 5-0.
While Bradford’s story of becoming the first team from England’s bottom tier to reach a major final dominated pre-match discussion, Swansea’s success is an equally deserving tale. The side from South Wales claimed their first major trophy with a performance that encapsulated the possession style that has played such a key part in their ascent through the divisions to become a real force in the Premier League.
On the large Wembley surface, Swansea passed the ball superbly and controlled the game against a Bradford side that sat back and were unable to get any meaningful pressure on their opponents throughout.
Swansea’s early dominance was rewarded with Nathan Dyer’s 16th minute close-range finish and the result was effectively put beyond doubt when the excellent Michu added a second five minutes before the break. Dyer scored a classy third three minutes into the second half and just a few minutes later Bradford’s misery was compounded as goalkeeper Matt Duke was shown a red card after fouling Michu in the area and Jonathan de Guzman tucked home the penalty. De Guzman then rounded out the scoring with a fifth goal in injury time.
Having already dispensed of a trio of Premier League clubs en route to the final, Bradford had high hopes of causing another upset. Swansea boss Michael Laudrup was clearly aware of the Yorkshire side’s physical threat as he switched regular midfielder Sung-Yueng Ki to the center of defense in place of the injured Chico Flores.
In truth, Swansea’s back line was never seriously tested. From the off Swansea assumed control, with Bradford happy to defend on the edge of their own area.
Clinically on one of the rare occasions when Bradford committed men forward, Swansea took full advantage. Michu’s low shot across goal from the edge of the box was well kept out by a low save by Duke at full stretch but he could only help it on into the path of Dyer, who was alert to tap home.
The second goal was almost an exact replica of the first. This time it was Pablo Hernandez that found Michu with a low ball to the edge of the area, but on this occasion, with Bradford’s defenders backing off, the Spaniard found the corner of the net with a fine side-footed effort with little back lift that, to add insult to injury, went through the legs of a defender.
It could have been 3-0 before half time as Duke parried over Wayne Routledge’s cross, but it soon was minutes after the interval. Dyer played a delightful one-two with Routledge and, to the right of the box, the winger turned back onto his left foot and curled the ball into the far corner.
Dyer’s fine performance was only blotted somewhat by something of a tantrum upon being denied the chance to score a hat-trick from the penalty spot. There could be no argument about either the award of the spot kick or the dismissal of Duke after the keeper had clearly brought Michu down as the forward looked to go round him inside the six-yard box.
After a protracted discussion while Jon McLaughlan was brought on in goal, Dyer was eventually forced to move away and De Guzman stepped up and strolled toward the ball before calmly dispatching it into the corner.
As the match ticked into injury time, Swansea secured the biggest winning margin in a league cup final as De Guzman got his second with a near post finish from Angel Rangel's right-wing cross.
To their great credit, Bradford’s fans kept singing right until the referee’s final whistle signaled Swansea celebrations and just reward for the whole club, from chairman Huw Jenkins to manager Michael Laudrup and this season’s star, Michu.
Sports reporter, mainly focusing on my native sport of soccer, but also dabbling in some tennis and Formula One.