Bradford edges closer to dream Wembley final

London, Jan 9 (IANS/CMC) Bermudian striker Nahki Wells claimed his 16th goal of the season as Division Two Bradford City moved a step closer to a dream Wembley final when they beat Premier League club Aston Villa 3-1 in the first leg of their League Cup semi-final at Valley Parade.

Bradford, who had already claimed the scalps of two other Premier League clubs in Wigan and Arsenal earlier in the tournament, stunned Villa Tuesday who are 60 places above them, reports CMC.

The 22-year-old Wells eluded the offside trap before calmly beating goalkeeper Shay Given in the 19th minute with a low, right-footed shot into the corner of the net after the ball had ricocheted into his path 12 yards from goal, sparking wild celebrations.

Defender Rory McArdle headed home Gary Jones' cross in the 77th minute to double the Bantams' lead and striker James Hanson almost made it 3-0 when he headed against the crossbar.

But Villa, who had been kept at bay by the heroics of home goalkeeper Matt Duke, later named man of the match, reduced the arrears through Andreas Weimann before Carl McHugh restored the home side's two-goal advantage with another header two minutes from full-time.

"We may well be the favourites now, but we want to be the underdogs," Wells said afterwards.

"To get this far is great but we now want to make sure we get through.

"We showed our quality and that we can compete with Premier League teams. We were resilient, it was a tough match and we showed what we are capable of. To have a two-goal cushion is great.

"We would have taken a draw but 2-1, 3-1 is amazing. It's a good deficit to take with us to the away tie."

European champions Chelsea meet Swansea Wednesday in the first leg of the other semi-final.

--IANS/CMC

sr/mr

Matches