February 27, 2011
Birmingham stuns Arsenal
By Sports Network
London, England - Obafemi Martins scored in the 89th minute and Birmingham stunned Arsenal, 2-1, to win the Carling Cup final at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.
Martins got the Cup winner after Arsenal goalie Wojciech Szczesny and defender Laurent Koscielny failed to communicate on a harmless ball into the area, and the ball bounced off Koscielny and into space for an empty-net finish.
Birmingham claimed just the second trophy in its 136-year history, the last in 1963 when it lifted the League Cup by beating Aston Villa.
Arsenal defeated Birmingham in both matches in the English Premier League this season, but failed to snap its six-year trophy drought dating back to the 2005 FA Cup when it defeated Manchester United in the final.
Birmingham took a surprising lead inside 30 minutes when Roger Johnson reached a corner kick near the top of the box and flicked it toward goal. The towering Nikola Zigic, who is 6-foot-7, reached the ball inside the six-yard box to nod home his eighth goal in all competitions this season.
Arsenal was level just over 10 minutes later as Jack Wilshere's rocket bounced back off the crossbar, was kept alive by Andrei Arshavin, who crossed into the middle where Robin Van Persie fired home from 14 yards.
Keith Fahey nearly handed Birmingham the lead early in the second half, but he drilled the left post and the match reached the final minutes level at 1-all.
And with just one minute remaining, Zigic got involved again as he won a long ball from the other side of midfield just outside the box to flick it into the area.
Koscielny and Szczesny had the ball smothered, but miscommunication allowed it to pop into space, where an unmarked Martins slotted into an empty net to seal Birmingham's title.