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'Giant-killers' Bradford stun Aston Villa in League Cup

updated 11:04 AM EST, Wed January 9, 2013
Bradford's players celebrate after Carl McHugh (grounded) scores their third against Aston Villa
Bradford's players celebrate after Carl McHugh (grounded) scores their third against Aston Villa
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Fourth-tier Bradford City stun Premier League Aston Villa in League Cup
  • Bradford win the first leg 3-1 at their Valley Parade ground
  • The lowly team knocked out high-flying Arsenal in the previous round

(CNN) -- On the day that marks the birth of Elvis Presley perhaps it is fitting that lightning should strike twice.

Bradford City, currently in the fourth tier of English football, stunned Premier League Aston Villa with a 3-1 win in the first leg of their semifinal in the League Cup just weeks after toppling the mighty Arsenal.

The club are now just 90 minutes away from their first major final since they lifted the FA Cup back in 1911, if they can successfully negotiate the second leg at Villa Park on January 22.

Goals from Nehki Wells and Rory McArdle stunned the visitors before Andreas Weimann pulled a goal back for Villa but a late header from Carl McHugh restored City's two-goal cushion.

Read: Arsenal stunned by fourth tier Bradford City

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Bradford are now on the verge of matching the achievement Rochdale, who were the last fourth division side to reach the League Cup final in 1962.

The League Cup, first contested in 1960, is regarded as the third competition in English football behind the Premier League and the FA Cup.

Villa are owned by Randy Lerner, the American businessman who recently sold the Cleveland Browns NFL franchise.

Even if Bradford don't make it to Wembley they will have two cup shocks to remember fondly after they disposed of a full-strength Arsenal team on penalties in the last eight.

Their manager Phil Parkinson told Sky Sports: "To beat Aston Villa 3-1 is outstanding achievement, we played so well.

"Villa came with an attacking line up but left space and I thought we passed the ball well. The lads were magnificent in all departments.

"We've got be respectful and do it all again so we don't get carried away but what a victory for us. We've got to go there and enjoy it in front of 40,000 fans, and 6,000 of ours, because the pressure will be on Villa.

"We want to go and put in a strong performance. If we do that we'll have a great chance of going to Wembley. This is a dream to be in the semifinals with the likes of Chelsea, Villa, Swansea and we've got take it. They'll have to really earn it if they get to the final."

A despondent Paul Lambert said his young Villa side weren't good enough to match their supposedly inferior opponents on the night.

"We knew what was coming, the set pieces, and we never defended them well at all," he said.

"It wasn't good enough. We had a lot of the game but you've got to be able to defend set pieces. Its happened year after year that so-called lesser teams beat bigger teams but we've got a chance to redeem this.

"I'm pretty sure we'll start as favorites but it's a big game for us now."

European champions Chelsea take on Swansea in the other semifinal first leg on Wednesday night.

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