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Aston Villa Reach Carling Cup Final

It will go down as one of the most memorable Carling Cup semi-finals in history.

Blackburn Rovers, 1-0 down from the first leg jumped out to a 2-0 advantage on aggregate through two goals from Nikola Kalinic.

But Villa got back on level terms when former Blackburn defender Stephen Warnock scored and then Blackburn defender Christopher Samba was sent off for bringing down Gabriel Agbonlahor inside the box. James Milner scored from the subsequent spot kick to make it 3-2 Villa on aggregate.

Villa looked to have put the game away when they scored three more times in the 17 minutes of the second half through Agbonlahor, Emile Heskey and an own goal from Steven Nzonzi.

But credit to Blackburn, they were not done and two goals from Martin Olsson and Brett Emerton made it 6-4 on aggregate before Ashley Young sealed the game for Villa.

Aston Villa boss Martin O’Neil said after the game:

“I thought we started nervously, conceding two goals, and Wembley was a fair distance away at that stage. But we finally got a bit of life into us, fought back brilliantly, and we got back to 2-1. At that point I always felt we would score again, but not in my wildest dreams did I believe the score would end up 6-4. It was 6-4 wasn’t it?”

“I’m just really pleased for the team, which I know is a cliched old phrase, but I’m really delighted for them. They’ve had to fight back, whilst the crowd were obviously getting very anxious and frustrated, and they grew up tonight. We made a lot of mistakes in the game, and even at 5-2 the euphoria of getting into that position meant we lost concentration. But overall I am absolutely delighted, and pleased to get to Wembley, which will give the players an enormous boost of confidence to go on. A night like this, they haven’t come round too often at this club in the last 25 years or so. We should be contesting these kind of games more often.”

Martin O’Neill’s side will now meet either or in the final at Wembley on February 28 and are one step away from lifting their first trophy since the 1996 League Cup.

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