Aston Villa appeared to be headed home as slight favorites to advance to the final of the League Cup, but Bradford City punched in a late insurance goal to expand their lead to two goals. The Villains pulled a goal back to cut Bradford's lead to one in the second half, but Carl McHugh restored his side's two-goal advantage to fire his team to a 3-1 win.
Bradford's leading goal-scorer Nakhi Wells put his team up early following a corner, putting in a deflected cross attempt. Aston Villa's supporters thought Wells was onside when he crept into the box to ge on the end of the ball, but he stayed level with the last defender and did well to volley past Shay Given.
From the beginning of the second half onwards, Villa battered the Bradford goal, forcing Matt Duke into more work than is reasonable for any keeper. He was brilliant on the night, making 12 saves, but also dodged a few bullets. One psuedo-howler gifted Darren Bent a clear header, but the Villa striker mistimed his jump and nodded over the bar.
Rory McArdle doubled Bradford's lead in the 77th minute, again following a set piece opportunity. After Bradford's first corner was unsuccessful, the return ball into the box found an unmarked McArdle, who hit a perfect header into the back of the net.
There was some late drama as Andreas Weimann touched a through ball from Bent past Duke, pulling a goal back for Villa in the 82nd minute, but McHugh put the Bantams back ahead by two goals by scoring a brilliant rocket of a header off a corner.
Bradford now heads to Villa Park with a two-goal advantage, and McHugh's insurance tally could be the difference between elimination and Wembley when it's all said and done.