LONDON (AP) — Hull reached the FA Cup final for the first time in its 110-year history as the Premier League side twice came from behind to beat third-tier club Sheffield United 5-3 in a lively encounter on Sunday.
After winning world football's oldest cup competition three times as a Manchester United player in the 1990s, Hull manager Steve Bruce will bring his team back to Wembley Stadium on May 17 for the final against 10-time winner Arsenal.
"If you had said 10 years ago that Hull will play Arsenal in the FA Cup final, people would have been scratching their heads," Bruce said. "It just shows you what can be done."
Hull is now just one game away from emulating Wigan's surprising run to the title last year. But the team will need to improve vastly on its first-half performance in order to win the club's first major trophy after United — which won the last of its four FA Cups in 1925 and last played in the Premier League in the 2007 — twice led at the national stadium.
But Hull was transformed after halftime, with Matty Fryatt restoring parity at 2-2 before Tom Huddlestone and Stephen Quinn gave the northeast team what appeared to be a comfortable cushion. Even though Jamie Murphy pulled a late goal back for United, David Meyler quickly responded to secure Hull's first trip to a major final.
"We were very sloppy in the first half and didn't get going," Meyler said. "We got together at halftime and regrouped. It's fantastic."
One dilemma for Bruce in the final will be whether to play son Alex Bruce, who remained on the bench throughout the semifinal. At the 1991 final, Nigel Clough played up front in father Brian's Nottingham Forest team, which lost to Tottenham. Nigel Clough was back at Wembley managing Sheffield United on Sunday for an emotional occasion as English football marks the 25-year anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster.
Clough was in the Forest team on April 15, 1989, for the FA Cup semifinal at Sheffield Wednesday's ground that became the scene of Britain's worst sporting disaster as 96 Liverpool fans were crushed to death.