Bradford dream continues, Arsenal and Villa win

Reuters , Monday 16 Feb 2015

Arsenal's Olivier Giroud, left, celebrates scoring his side's first goal with Kieran Gibbs during the English FA Cup fifth round soccer match between Arsenal and Middlesbrough at the Emirates Stadium in London, Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015 (Photo: AP)

Bradford City's unlikely FA Cup journey continued as they knocked over Sunderland 2-0 to reach the quarter-finals on Sunday at a rocking Valley Parade.

The League One (third tier) side continued where they left off in a stunning 4-2 defeat of Premier League leaders Chelsea in the previous round to ease past Gus Poyet's side.

Roared on by a fervent crowd, Bradford were ahead in the third minute when John O'Shea put through his own goal. Jon Stead sealed victory just past the hour to put the Yorkshire club in the last eight for the first time since 1976.

Championship (second tier) leaders Middlesbrough could not reproduce the form that saw them knock out Manchester city in the fourth round as they went down 2-0 at holders Arsenal.

Olivier Giroud scored both goals for the Gunners.

In a battle between two struggling Premier League sides Aston Villa beat Leicester City 2-1.

Bradford continued to inject some magic into the competition though as they deservedly beat a poor Sunderland side.

"There is always a danger because the expectancy might have been we would win this one after beating Chelsea but we have kept that underdog spirit," manager Phil Parkison told the BBC.

"It was a good, old fashioned cup tie, a really good advert for the FA Cup."

OWN GOAL Sunderland made a torrid start at Valley Parade.

In the third minute a free-kick caused havoc in their area and Billy Clarke's shot deflected in off O'Shea.

Boosted by the early goal, Bradford suffocated their Premier League rivals with tireless chasing and harassing.

Despite the 37 league places between the sides, Bradford were on top and could have added a second but James Hanson could not convert Stead's teasing header.

Although Sunderland slowly began to assert their authority before the break they were limited to long-range efforts. The visitors started the second half brightly but it was Bradford who doubled their lead when England international Adam Johnson was harried into giving the ball away and Stead calmly converted to maintain his record of scoring in every round of this season's competition.

Bradford could have added a third but Billy Knott's blistering strike was saved by Sunderland keeper Vito Manone and the hosts comfortably closed out the game to the delight of most of the 24,021 crowd -- the biggest at Valley Parade for 50 years.

Arsenal were in no mood to crash out against lower league opposition and two goals in two opening half minutes took the tie away from Middlesbrough.

After some neat build-up play, Arsenal defender Kieran Gibbs picked Giroud out with a sweeping cross and the Frenchman turned the ball in from close range on 27 minutes. Giroud added his second two minutes later when the striker met Alexis Sanchez's corner with a first-time volley that flew past Middlesbrough goalkeeper Tomas Mejias. After a woeful first half at Villa Park, Leandro Bacuna curled in the opener in the 68th minute and loan signing Scott Sinclair added a second from a tight angle before Leicester's record signing Andrej Kramaric pulled a headed goal back in stoppage time.

Short link: