LONDON: Bradford City became the first fourth-tier club to reach the League Cup final for 51 years as they shocked Premier League strugglers Aston Villa in front of their own fans.
Villa won ‘only’ 2-1 at Villa Park and thus lost 4-3 on aggregate even though leading scorer Christian Benteke put them in front before half-time.
James Hanson’s headed effort early in the second period effectively killed off the tie and Villa substitute Andreas Weimann’s last-gasp goal secured a 2-1 win which was too little, too late.
The final whistle was the cue for wild scenes of delight from Bradford manager Phil Parkinson and his players who had overcome Arsenal in the previous round. They face Swansea or Chelsea at Wembley at the end of February. Only victory would earn them a place in next season’s Europa League.
Parkinson said: “We had a chance to make history and we’ve done it.What this means to the club and city is tremendous.”
The only other club from the bottom division to reach the final were Rochdale in 1962 when the competition was in its infancy and many top clubs did not enter.
For Villa and manager Paul Lambert it was another massive blow in a season in which a strategy of relying on young players has led only to a relegation battle – and now League Cup humiliation.
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