BIRMINGHAM, England - Bradford City's players struggled to suppress their amazement after pulling off an astonishing 4-3 aggregate win over English Premier League club Aston Villa to reach the League Cup final.
Bradford, from English football's fourth division and with a squad assembled for barely 7,500 pounds ($F20,940), had already eliminated Arsenal and Wigan Athletic earlier in the competition and they stood on the brink of the final after winning 3-1 in the first leg.
They were made to endure a nervy finish at Villa Park, however, with Andreas Weimann's 89th-minute goal taking Villa to within one goal of forcing extra time before the final whistle sounded to confirm Bradford's ticket to Wembley.
FA Cup winners in 1911, Bradford have not reached a major final since and will become the first fourth-tier club since Rochdale in 1962 to grace a League Cup final.
Given that the Bantams were quoted at odds of 10,000-1 to win the tournament at the start of the season, their giant-killing run represents one of the most remarkable achievements in English football history.
"This is dreamland," said goalkeeper Matt Duke, whose razor-sharp reflexes played a pivotal part in Bradford's success over the two legs.
"Hopefully we will have a great following at Wembley and do the club proud. I am not convinced it will ever sink in.
"You dream of this as a kid, playing at Wembley, and like I say, I just want to do the club proud."
Villa made a storming start to the second leg of the semi-final and went ahead on the night when Christian Benteke met Joe Bennett's left-wing cross with a deft near-post volley in the 24th minute.
However, James Hanson drew the Bantams level with a bullet header in the 55th minute and Phil Parkinson's side clung on to reach the final despite Weimann's late intervention giving the hosts a 2-1 victory.