Birmingham stun Arsenal to win Carling Cup at Wembley

Obafemi Martins capitalises on Arsenal's defensive mix-up to win Carling Cup for Birmingham at Wembley

Martin Caparrotta
By Martin Caparrotta
CARLING CUP FINAL, 27 FEBRUARY 2011, WEMBLEY
team1
Arsenal
Van Persie (38)
1 - 2
team2
Birmingham
Zigic (28) Martins (89)

Arsenal’s six-year wait for a trophy continues after Obafemi Martins snatched a last-gasp winner for Birmingham City as the Blues claimed their first major silverware since 1963.

Martins tapped home a simple finish after a catastrophic mix-up between Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny and centre-half Laurent Koscielny that left the Nigerian forward with an empty net.

Nikola Zigic had headed Birmingham into the lead after 28 minutes but Robin van Persie equalised five minutes before the break with a right-footed volley.

But Arsène Wenger’s men failed to build on the leveller and were kept at bay by a battling Birmingham side before Szczesny and Koscielny failed to deal with Zigic’s knock-down in the 89th minute and allowed Martins to slot home in front of the Blues’ fans.

Birmingham manager Alex McLeish hailed his side’s “titanic” performance after a victory which sees his side seal a spot in next season’s Europa League.

“It’s an achievement when you consider who we were up against,” said McLeish. “We weren’t given a prayer by the pundits and the bookies but we believed. It was a titanic performance by the players.

“We had a gameplan and managed to get our noses in front, that gives you a great chance.”

Meanwhile, Martins—who is on loan from Rubin Kazan—admitted his winner was one of the simplest strikes he has ever scored.

“I think this is the easiest goal I’ve ever scored in my career – and it’s very important,” he said. “I’m glad I scored today and I’m glad we won. I think it was my second touch. I’m very happy.

“The gaffer (McLeish) said to me that I would come on in the second half, so I think he did it right. It means a lot to the fans and players – we really need this trophy.”

Arsenal boss Wenger, whose side once again failed to deliver when it mattered most, admitted his dismay at the result.

“I am bitterly disappointed, like the whole team,” said the Arsenal manager. “It took us a while to get into the rhythm and pace of the game.

“In the second half we were on top, unfortunately we couldn’t score the second goal and, in the end, we made a mistake that left us no time at all to respond. We were preparing to play extra time.”

And Wenger revealed Koscielny and Szczesny were inconsolable after the final whistle. “Both of them are destroyed,” he said. “I don’t think it’s a good moment for me to add anything. We have to lift them up again and help them, that is what a team is about.”

MORE:

MORE: The latest football transfer news

MORE: Meet the Premier League's most stylish footballers

MORE: Do you know the top Muslim footballers in the Premier League?

MORE: Man United latest news

MORE: Arsenal latest news

MORE: Chelsea latest news

MORE: Liverpool latest news

The Sport Review
Frank Lampard sends message to Chelsea FC fans about Eden Hazard
The Sport Review
Top 50 most stylish footballers in the world in 2017: Arsenal, Man United, Chelsea, Liverpool stars feature
The Sport Review
Top 40 Muslim footballers: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Man United stars feature
The Sport Review
Top 25 footballers’ cars: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Real Madrid players feature
The Sport Review
Top 20 Nigerian footballers in Premier League: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool stars feature
The Sport Review
Arsenal player wages 2017: Do you know how much Xhaka, Ozil and Coquelin earn each week?
Dubai 2018
The Sport Review
Dubai 2018: Defending champion Svitolina sets repeat SF showdown with Kerber
The Sport Review
Arsene Wenger delivers Mesut Ozil update ahead of Arsenal v Man City final
The Sport Review
Steven Gerrard raves about ‘top class’ Chelsea FC star