Hull City made an immediate return to the top flight after edging Sheffield Wednesday 1-0 in the Sky Bet Championship Play-Off Final at Wembley Stadium.The Tigers, who finished fourth in the regular season standings, progressed to the Premier League for the second time via the Play-Offs, after Mo Diame’s 72nd-minute wonder strike.
Having controlled the majority of the first half, Steve Bruce’s side were under threat from Wednesday early in the second, but Diame’s curled effort from 25 yards past goalkeeper Keiren Westwood clinched another promotion.
Hull started the brighter, and midfielder Tom Huddlestone was the first to have an effort on goal after a neat passage of play.
But the Owls grew into the game from there. Their main threat Fernando Forestieri, who scored 15 goals in the Championship this term, burst into life after 10 minutes, racing past Michael Dawson as the Hull captain was forced to bring him down and take a booking.
Forestieri tried his luck from the resulting free-kick, but Eldin Jakupovic punched well clear.
Goalkeeper Jakupovic was also on hand to beat away once more just minutes later when Ross Wallace took aim.
Abel Hernandez, who netted 21 goals for Hull across the course of the season, almost grabbed the opener after a through-ball from Diame, but Westwood got the vital touch to send the ball over the crossbar. Moses Odubajo also fired wide from 25 yards with a wicked left-footed strike.
Man of the match Diame almost turned goalscorer soon after, rounding three Wednesday players with some brilliant trickery, only to see his shot rebound off the post.
Odubajo came close once again as the Tigers began to take control, this time from close range, as Elmohamady slid in a luscious through ball. Westwood did enough to make a second crucial stop, in what was a brilliant individual performance from the 31-year-old.
Carlos Carvalhal’s side would have been down an out had if it was not for him. Again he saved from close range, this time from Dawson in the second half, who was lurking at the back post.
The best chance of the match came just before the hour mark, when Hull’s full-backs combined. Odubajo fizzed a ball across the Wednesday box, and picked out team-mate Andy Robertson, but he blazed over to the despair of his supporters.
Then it came. Against the run of play. In reality, from nowhere.
Diame picked up the ball from Snodgrass and, from a central position, bent his shot round Westwood from 25 yards.
The goal silenced an otherwise bouncing Sheffield Wednesday end of the stadium, who had been in strong voice all afternoon, and sealed Hull’s return to the top flight at the first time of asking.
Hull City: Jakupovic (GK), Odubajo, Davies, Huddlestone, Hernandez (Meyler 85), Snodgrass (Clucas 82), Livermore, Diame (Maguire 88), Dawson (capt), Robertson, Elmohamady
Substitutes not used: Kuciak, Bruce, Maloney, Akpom
Sheffield Wednesday: Westwood (GK), Hutchinson (Nuhiu 76), Loovens (capt), Hooper, Lees, Lee, Hunt, Wallace (Helan 63), Pudil (Joao 87), Bannan, Forestieri
Substitutes not used: Wildsmith (GK), Matias, Lopez, Sasso
Referee: Bobby Madley