Bradford Leads Aston Villa 3-1 in League Cup Semifinal

Bradford defeated Aston Villa 3-1 to open their two-game semifinal in English soccer’s League Cup.

Nahki Wells got the first goal for the home team with a shot from about six yards (5.5 meters) after 19 minutes at Coral Windows Stadium in Bradford. Rory McArdle doubled the advantage in the 77th minute with a headed goal. Andreas Weimann made it 2-1 five minutes later and Carl McHugh added a third for Bradford with another header two minutes from the end.

The return game will be played Jan. 22 at Villa Park in Birmingham. Victory in the two-game series would make Bradford, which is eighth in the fourth tier, the first club from below the second level to reach the final since Villa achieved the feat as a third-division team in 1970-71, according to Infostrada Sports.

Four-time champion Chelsea hosts Swansea City in the opening game of their semifinal tomorrow. The final is scheduled for Feb. 24 at Wembley Stadium in London.

Villa has won the League Cup five times, most recently in

1996. Bradford, which eliminated Premier League teams Wigan and Arsenal in the last two rounds, has never won the tournament.

After losing 8-0 at Chelsea and giving up seven goals without reply in home defeats to Wigan and Tottenham since Dec. 23, Aston Villa sits one point and two places above the three-team relegation zone in the Premier League.

(Corrects year of Villa’s last League Cup championship in fifth paragraph in story originally published yesterday.)
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