Tue, Feb 17, 2015 - Page 20 News List

Bradford win to keep FA Cup dream alive

AP, LONDON

Bradford City’s Jon Stead scores against Sunderland during their FA Cup match at the Coral Windows Stadium in Bradford, England, on Sunday.

Photo: AFP

Third-tier Bradford City produced another FA Cup upset against English Premier League opposition on Sunday, beating Sunderland 2-0 to reach the quarter-finals for the first time in 39 years as holders Arsenal ousted Middlesbrough by the same score.

Jon Stead scored for a fifth consecutive round in the second half after an own goal from John O’Shea gifted Bradford the lead in the third minute.

Bradford, who beat Premier League leaders Chelsea to reach the fifth round, are now only one win away from a Wembley Stadium semi-final.

“There was always a danger that because we beat Chelsea everyone would expect us to win today,” Bradford manager Phil Parkinson said. “We had to guard against that and go in there with the underdog mentality.”

“Right from the first whistle we played with great desire and great spirit, and we were first to every ball all over the pitch. Maybe we took Sunderland by surprise,” he added.

Bradford, who were relegated from the Premier League in 2001 and are currently ninth in League One, produced another stunning cup run in 2013 when they reached a League Cup final won by Swansea.

“We have done it again and we are obviously buzzing,” Stead said. “It was a terrific start for us to get the goal and we just carried on from there.”

Sunderland manager Gus Poyet maintained that the loss “is not humiliating.”

“If the top teams always beat the smaller teams, then the cup would not exist,” Poyet said.

It was a routine day, though, for Arsenal. Middlesbrough, who are second in the second tier, never looked like emulating their fourth-round victory over Premier League champions Manchester City.

Olivier Giroud scored both of Arsenal’s goals in the 2-0 win to take his tally in the season to 10.

The France forward turned in Kieran Gibbs’ cross in the 27th minute and netted again inside two minutes after meeting Alexis Sanchez’s corner at the near post.

“Giroud is today a different player to the guy who arrived here [in 2012],” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said. “He has improved tremendously his mobility, his technical quality.”

The closest Middlesbrough came was in stoppage time when Kike headed against the post.

The day’s all-Premier League encounter was closer, with Aston Villa beating Leicester City 2-1. Leandro Bacuna broke the deadlock in the 68th minute, and Scott Sinclair doubled Villa’s lead in the 89th minute, with goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer helping the ball into the net.

Andrej Kramaric headed one back for Leicester a minute later, but Villa held on with new manager Tim Sherwood watching from the stands. The former Tottenham Hotspur manager delivered an impromptu half-time team-talk despite leaving coach Scott Marshall in charge for this game.

“He came in and made a couple of points to the lads,” Marshall said.

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