Manchester City have won their first major trophy in decades, triumphing 1-0 at Wembley over Stoke City to lift the FA Cup for the first time since 1969. It was a well-deserved win, too. Roberto Mancini's side were dominant from the beginning, dealing fairly comfortably with whatever Stoke could throw at them while repaying their attacks with devastating thrusts forwards of their own.
Mancini had raised some eyebrows by starting Italian striker Mario Balotelli as a left forward, but the volatile youngster performed brilliantly all game, causing Stoke's defenders huge problems and forcing Thomas Sorensen into a spectacular save midway through the first half. Eventually, he would contribute to the winning goal as well, which was smashed home by Yaya Toure (who also scored the goal that knocked out Manchester United in the semifinal) after the Ivorian was gifted with a loose ball in the penalty area.
It wasn't just Balotelli and Toure involved in the action, however - David Silva managed to miss the target when presented with an open goal on the half volley, and Carlos Tevez managed to draw another fine save from Sorensen, who was easily Stoke's best player on the night.
Stoke, on the other hand, were solid defensively but poor going forward, with Matthew Etherington looking unfit after being rushed back from a hamstring injury. Without any cut and thrust on the left side, their invention had to come through Jermaine Pennant, who became increasingly less effective as the match went on thanks to a pair of knocks to the ankle sandwiched around halftime.
Their best chance of the game came immediately before the Manchester City goal, when Etherington released Kenwyne Jones will a very pretty long pass forward. Jones brushed Joleon Lescott out of the away before attempting to steer the ball under Joe Hart, but the goalkeeper was up to the challenge and snuffed out the danger.
Anyway, as I mentioned, it's a win that was thoroughly earned by City, and they'll be thrilled that they get to tear down the banner Manchester United have been sporting at the Stretford End of Old Trafford that celebrates their '"noisy neighbours'" lack of silverware. For Stoke, a place in the Europa League is the consolation prize, which isn't so bad, and they will at least be able to walk off the pitch with their heads held high, knowing that they gave their far higher paid opponents quite a fight.