Big bucks beckon for Huddersfield Town in EPL after 45-year absence

Huddersfield Town's hero Danny Ward saved two penalties in a shootout with Sheffield Wednesday to help the Yorkshire ...
Jason Cairnduff

Huddersfield Town's hero Danny Ward saved two penalties in a shootout with Sheffield Wednesday to help the Yorkshire club qualify for the EPL promotion playoff final.

Huddersfield Town have qualified for the richest game in football - the English Premier League promotion final worth $320 million to the winner.

The Yorkshire club will qualify for a place in England's top division for the first time in 45 years if they beat Reading at Wembley Stadium next Thursday.

Huddersfield, managed by German-born American coach David Wagner, beat Sheffield Wednesday 4-3 in a penalty shootout in Sheffield on Thursday, after the two-legged semifinal match finished 1-1 on aggregate.

Huddersfield, the English champion each year from 1924-26, was most recently in the top flight in 1972, so would be a debutant in the Premier League.

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Operating with one of the smallest budgets in the second tier, Wagner has worked wonders with Huddersfield, with many of his signings being loan players, including former Australian A-League star Aaron Mooy, on temporary assignment from Manchester City.

Reading, managed by former Manchester United and Holland defender Jaap Stam, beat Fulham 1-0 in the other semifinal on Wednesday after a penalty by retiring French striker Yann Kermorgant.

​The Berkshire-based club has not been in the Premier League since the 2012-13 season.

It was more playoff woe for Wednesday, which lost in the Wembley final to Hull City last season.

Steve Fletcher gave Wednesday the lead in the 51st minute, heading home a cross by his Scottish international team-mate Barry Bannan.

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But Huddersfield equalised through a 73rd minute own goal by Wednesday defender Tom Lees.

The score remained deadlocked at 1-1 after extra-time.

Goalkeeper Danny Ward - on load from EPL giants Liverpool - proved Huddersfield's hero by saving spot-kicks by Sam Hutchinson and Fernando Forestieri in the sudden death shootout. 

 

 - AP

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