FOOTBALL - Hamer goal sends Coventry City into play-off final at Wembley - The Coventry Observer

FOOTBALL - Hamer goal sends Coventry City into play-off final at Wembley

Coventry Editorial 17th May, 2023 Updated: 17th May, 2023   0

GUSTAVO Hamer’s second-half goal sent Coventry City to Wembley after the Sky Blues beat Middlesbrough 1-0 in the second leg of their play-off semi-final.

The midfielder curled home the winner in style to seal a one-goal aggregate victory at the Riverside Stadium with City now just 90 minutes away from a dream return to the Premier League after more than two decades outside of the top flight.

Coventry will play Luton Town in the play-off final at Wembley on Saturday, May 27 with kick-off at 4.45pm after the Hatters overcame Sunderland in the other semi-final.

The Sky Blues were gifted a golden chance inside the opening 10 minutes when Tommy Smith inadvertently played the ball into the path of Viktor Gyokeres only for Zack Steffen to make a crucial stop at the feet of the Swedish striker.

And Coventry spurned another chance just past the quarter hour mark when Kyle McFadzean headed Hamer’s free-kick over the bar.

Much like the first leg, the game proved a cagey affair in the opening half hour with neither side able to manage a shot on target.

Boro almost broke the deadlock with the final touch of the half when Ben Wilson held Darragh Lenihan’s header from a corner as the teams went into the break all square.

Mark Robins’ side made a good start to the second half and loooked certain to take the lead when Ben Sheaf squared the ball to Jamie Allen in the box only for the midfielder to miscue his effort as Boro scrambled the ball to safety.

And the Sky Blues were in dreamland on 57 minutes when Gyokeres latched onto Sheaf’s through ball and touched it past Steffen before Hamer picked up the loose ball and curled a fine effort into the top right corner.

Coventry almost doubled their lead on 70 minutes when Hamer curled a free-kick from 25-yards out onto the crossbar with Steffen well beaten.

The visitors had another chance to kill the game with nine minutes left to play when Matty Godden’s initial effort was blocked and Hamer hooked the follow up well over the crossbar.

Middlesbrough had the ball in the net on 88 minutes when Matt Crooks’ header beat Wilson only for the linesman to correctly flag for offside.

Coventry survived eight minutes of added time, which included a crucial fingertip save from Wilson, as City held on to book their place at Wembley and spark wild scenes of celebration in the away end.

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