Sheffield Wednesday pulled off the greatest comeback in English Football League playoff history as they overturned a 4-0 first-leg deficit against Peterborough United.
The win ensured that they reached the League One playoff final via a penalty shootout on Thursday.
Sheffield Wednesday, who narrowly missed automatic promotion from the third tier and finished 19 points above Peterborough in the regular season, looked down and out after Friday’s hammering.
But roared on by the home fans at Hillsborough, they turned the tie on its head to win 5-1 on the night after extra time.
The hosts then held their nerve to prevail 5-3 in the shootout to spark wild scenes of celebration with the fans invading the pitch.
“Everybody wrote us off. Everybody told us we couldn’t do it but it’s unbelievable.
“What he has done is unbelievable, to turn around the mindset of the players. I’m so proud of him how he’s handled this week after the racism he’s experienced.
“That one’s for him,” Wednesday skipper Barry Bannan told reporters, paying tribute to manager Darren Moore who suffered racist abuse online after the first-leg loss.
In the playoff final at Wembley, the Sheffield club will face either Barnsley or Bolton Wanderers, who meet on Friday in their semi-final second leg with the score at 1-1.
Michael Smith got the comeback under way with a penalty after nine minutes and Lee Gregory halved the arrears before halftime to give Sheffield Wednesday belief.
Reece James made it 3-0 on the night and in the eighth minute of stoppage time, Liam Palmer prodded home from close range to spark pandemonium in the stands.
Another twist saw Peterborough edge ahead on aggregate in the first half of extra time when a cross deflected in off the unlucky Gregory.
But a weary Sheffield Wednesday would not give in and Callum Paterson’s cool finish in the 112th minute sent the game into a shootout.
Sheffield Wednesday then scored all of their penalties while Dan Butler thumped his against the bar for Peterborough.
Jack Hunt dispatched the crucial kick to send Sheffield Wednesday to Wembley and after the match Moore acknowledged that the enormity of the comeback had not sunk in.
“We’ve got one more game to go and we have to go again. The key was the fans tonight, they drove the players over the line,” he said.