League Two side Bradford City cruised to a 3-1 win in its home match of the League Cup semifinal tie against Aston Villa two weeks ago, but most observers expected the Claret and Blue to put up, at the very least, a 2-0 win in today's Villa Park rematch to advance to the League Cup final. After all, Villa is (by definition, if not recent play) a Premiership side, and Bradford City a middle-of-the-road fourth-division team. They barely belong on the same pitch together.
And yet Bradford's James Hanson headed home a 55th-minute goal that created a near-insurmountable aggregate advantage for his squad in response to an early Christian Benteke goal for Villa. Aston Villa added a goal in the 89th minute to claim the game advantage, but after four minutes of added time the whistle came and Bradford stomped off with a 4-3 aggregate win and a matchup against either Chelsea or Swansea City in the final at Wembley Stadium. It also places Bradford City one win away from an improbable bid to the Europa League.
It's Bradford's first cup final in more than 100 years, and the first time a fourth-division side has reached the League Cup final since Rochdale did it in 1962. That tiny bit of history for Rochdale has a Bradford City connection, too; Rochdale's all-time recordholder for appearances is Gary Jones, who currently serves as Bradford's vice-captain. [BeIN]