Hull City move a step closer to £170m top-flight return
Hull City0-2 Derby County (Hull City win 3-2 on aggregate)
Hull City reached the Sky Bet Championship play-off final but they did it the hard way with a 3-2 aggregate victory over Derby.
The Tigers had won the first leg 3-0 at the iPro Stadium but were beaten 2-0 in the second leg at the KC Stadium through two first-half goals, an early Johnny Russell strike and an Andy Robertson own goal.
Derby pushed for an equaliser but Hull held on to reach the final at Wembley against Sheffield Wednesday and keep alive hopes of a Premier League return, worth an estimated £170m.
Derby took the lead after six minutes when Hull failed to deal with a cross to the back post from Cyrus Christie. The ball was headed down by Chris Martin and Russell saw his first shot blocked but forced home the rebound from a couple of yards.
Ten minutes later, Russell curled a free-kick just wide as Hull continued to soak up pressure and it took 25 minutes for the home side to have a shot when Jake Livermore fired over.
Ten minutes before the break, Derby got their second when a low cross from the left by Andreas Weimann was put into his own goal by Robertson.
Hull had a penalty appeal turned down when Moses Odubajo went to ground and the same player saw his shot deflected wide for a corner.
With the tie finely balanced both sides began the second-half in search of the next goal, Derby being denied in a goalmouth scramble.
Abel Hernandez tried an ambitious shot from a tight angle which went wide and Mo Diame also fired wide after bursting through the middle.
Derby looked composed in midfield but were not quite able to make the most of their possession, Will Hughes firing over and Martin then testing Eldin Jakupovic with a shot which the Hull keeper beat away.
Former Hull player Tom Ince drew a loud cheer from the home fans as he shot over as the hosts were once again pinned back.
The Tigers' hardly had an attack as their defensive strategy came to the fore. It was a risky tactic but one which rewarded them with a play-off final spot.