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01-12-2018, 12:06 AM
LONDON -- 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 footballs 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 Wigans 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 clubs 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 Hulls first trip to a major final. "We were very sloppy in the first half and didnt get going," Meyler said. "We got together at halftime and regrouped. Its 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 Brians 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 Wednesdays ground that became the scene of Britains worst sporting disaster as 96 Liverpool fans were crushed to death. "With the tributes its been a very, very emotional weekend for everybody in football," Clough said. "Twenty-five years on the feelings are the same." The Hillsborough game lasted just six minutes before the full magnitude of the deadly crush became clear. On this weekend of tributes to the victims, and education for a new generation of fans, every game kicked off seven minutes later than usual. Fittingly, Uniteds opening goal came from Jose Baxter, a boyhood Liverpool fan who went on to play for Everton. After bundling the ball in from close range, the 22-year-old Baxter removed his black armband and held it up while looking up to the sky. Baxters side was in the ascendancy for much of the first half, making Hull look ordinary, until Sagbo slid in to equalize in the 42nd. But Uniteds lead was restored inside 100 seconds as Stefan Scougall completed a speedy break. The game swung in Hulls favour, however, within 10 minutes of the second half as Fryatt forced the ball over the line from close range after United failed to fully clear a corner, and Huddlestone weaved his way through the defence before cooling chipping into the net. Then came what proved to Hulls match-winner, with Quinn heading in against his former club in the 67th. Even though Murphy gave United hope of a dramatic comeback by slicing in his teams third in the 90th, Meylers goal settled the match. If Hull does manage to etch its name onto the FA Cup, it wont be the one Hull owner Assem Allam wants to see. The Egyptian businessman was rebuffed by the FA earlier this week in his attempt to change Hull City to Hull Tigers, a name he believes would help the team earn more international fans and exposure. Winning the Cup -- and qualifying for the Europa League -- could have the same effect. 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Wade Davis Jersey (http://www.cubsteamproshop.com/cubs-wade-davis-jersey/) . The Gatineau Olympiques head coach will lead Canada in its quest to end its gold medal drought at the 2015 world junior hockey championship held in Montreal and Toronto at the end of this year.Other teams probably could have offered Radim Vrbata $10 million over two years. What the Vancouver Canucks had that the competition didnt was the chance to play with Daniel and Henrik Sedin. So when general manager Jim Benning suggested it, Vrbata took it as another reason to sign with the Canucks. "He was saying that they were looking for somebody to play with Sedins and that they think I could be the guy," Vrbata said on a conference call Thursday. "I feel like with the way they play and the way they see the game, its something that would probably suit my game. Yeah, it was real interesting to have that chance." Itll be up to coach Willie Desjardins to form the lines, Benning said, but it was part of the plan to give Vrbata an opportunity with the Sedins. Benning likes that Vrbata can read plays and jump into holes. Vrbata, who had 20 goals and 31 assists in his final season with the defensive-minded Arizona Coyotes, will be counted on to produce more if hes Vancouvers top-line right-winger. He doesnt mind that pressure. "If you play with players like Sedins, you know that you will get your chances," Vrbata said. "When I think about the way they play, that kind of suits my game, I think. They like lots of give-and-gos and they like to get open for each other. I think thats something that I like to do, too." The addition of Vrbata could push Alex Burrows out of that spot. The 33-year-old who had been a regular linemate with the Sedins since 2010 had just five goals and 10 assists in 49 games this past season. Benning sees Burrows as the second-line right-winger alongside centre Nick Bonino -- acquired from the Anaheim Ducks in the Ryan Kesler trade -- and either Zack Kassian or Jannik Hansen. "We want to have balance amongst our four lines. We want to have scoring, we want to have scoring depth," Benning said. "Now we have depth at the forward positions where every line can contribute in the scoring, and thatts one of the things that we set out to do.dddddddddddd" Signing Vrbata could be the last major move in unrestricted free agency this summer for the Canucks, who got veteran goaltender Ryan Miller on Tuesday for $18 million over three years. "For the most part were done," Benning said. "We wanted to address a couple things to make our team a complete team going into this next season, and I think weve done that. ... Were going to probably go into the season with this team and were going to see where we stand and go from there." Vrbata fit on that checklist because the Canucks wanted to add a scorer. Benning said there were some possibilities on Day One, but when they didnt materialize, the 33-year-old Czech became a priority. "For us, he plays a 200-foot game," Benning said. "He plays in all three zones and hes got real good hockey sense and hands to finish. Hes going to help us on our power play." And in the shootout. Vrbata had five goals on 12 attempts last season. But its the goals he could help produce alongside the Sedins that made Vrbata particularly attractive to the Canucks, and vice-versa. Vrbata understands he might not spend 80 games with Daniel and Henrik but doesnt sound like hed complain about doing that. "Im a big, big believer in chemistry and kind of synergy," Vrbata said. "I feel like when you have chemistry with somebody, that helps so much in todays league where sometimes its so tight and if you can really trust and gain advantage by knowing the guys youre on a line (with)." 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