Fourth-flight Bradford City engineered perhaps the greatest upset in the last 50 years of English soccer by stunning Aston Villa today and advancing to the League Cup final.
Villa, a Premier League squad, actually won the game 2-1 in front of their home fans of Birmingham, but lost 4-3 overall in the two-game, total-goal semifinal.
Bradford manager Phil Parkinson said his club was in “dreamland.” The Bantams will play either Chelsea or Swansea City in the final at mammoth Wembley Stadium on Feb. 24. They play their semifinal on Wednesday.
“We said we had a chance to make history and tonight we have done it,” Parkinson told Sky Sports. “The lads were absolutely magnificent and what it means to the club and the city; it’s absolutely tremendous.”
Not since 1962 has a club from England’s League 2 (the fourth tier after Premiership, Championship and League One) advanced to a League Cup final.
Rochdale lost to Norwich City that year.
What makes this season’s triumph even more remote is Bradford’s 10th-place standing in League 2. The Bantams are 11-7-9 this campaign.
In all, 92 teams compete for the trophy. The winners advance to an even bigger stage next year, getting access to the Europa League tournament in 2014.
Bradford is about 40 miles northeast of Manchester.