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West Ham into EPL promotion final

Date

London

West Ham United are just one match away from an immediate return to the Premier League following last season's relegation after over-powering Cardiff City in the Championship play-off semi-final.

The Londonders, in front of their Upton Park home crowd, won 3-0 on Monday for a 5-0 aggregate victory.

They will now face either Birmingham City or Blackpool -- both also relegated last term, and who conclude their play-off semi-final on Wednesday -- in the play-off final at Wembley on May 19.

The match is often billed as 'the richest game in football' as a place in the Premier League is worth an estimated STG90 million ($A143m) to the winning club.

Having suffered the disappointment of missing out on automatic promotion behind Championship winners Reading and runners-up Southampton, West Ham wasted little time feeling sorry for themselves.

They came into Monday's match on the back of a 2-0 first-leg win in Cardiff courtesy of two Jack Collison goals and the tie was put beyond any lingering doubt when midfielder Kevin Nolan opened the scoring in the 15th minute.

Ricardo Vaz Te made it 2-0 five minutes prior to the break before Nicky Maynard set the seal on an emphatic victory with a 90th-minute goal against a Cardiff side already beaten by Liverpool in this season's League Cup final at Wembley.

For Cardiff defeat meant yet more play-off heartache, having lost in the semi-finals to Reading last season after being beaten in the 2010 Championship play-off final by Blackpool.

AFP

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