Football

Birmingham stun Gunners at Wembley

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Birmingham substitute Obafemi Martins scored a last-gap winner to earn his side a shock 2-1 Carling Cup final success over Arsenal at Wembley.

The on-loan Rubin Kazan player took advantage of a mix-up between Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny and Laurent Koscielny to slot into an empty net on 89 minutes, securing a famous victory for Alex McLeish's side.

The first half was a pulsating affair played at a high tempo, but Birmingham were more than matching their rivals, the heavy pre-match favourites.

Lee Bowyer could have won a penalty for the Midlands outfit in the opening minutes of the match, but an incorrect offside flag prevented Mike Dean from having to make a big decision as Szczensy brought down the midfielder.

After half chances at either end, Nikola Zigic gave the underdogs the lead on 28 minutes. Roger Johnson won the first header from a corner, and Zigic nodded home from inside the six yard box as the Gunners stood static.

The 6ft 7in striker should have made it two moments later, but the Serb was denied by Arsenal's keeper after Craig Gardner put the forward clean through.

It gave the north London side a chance to strike back, and sure enough Van Persie brought the teams level before the half.

Jack Wilshere rattled the bar from distance, but after failing to clear their lines Andrey Arshavin managed to get to the byline before picking out the Dutchman, who finished brilliantly past Foster.



The second period was less frantic, but there was still goalmouth incidents at both ends throughout the 45 minutes.

Arsene Wenger sent on Nicklas Bendtner and Marouane Chamakh in an effort to win the game, but Keith Fahey went closest in the earlier exchanges as the Irishman hit the inside of the post after a fortunate one-two with Zigic. Szczesny was well beaten.

Samir Nasri tested Foster twice from distance, and the England international was again on form to deny Danish international Bendtner as the game appeared to be heading towards extra time.

However, late Blues substitute Martins would provide a final sting in the tale, taking the League Cup trophy back to St Andrew's and leaving Arsenal still searching for that elusive trophy. 

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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Topics:
Arsenal
Robin Van Persie
Football
Nikola Zigic
League Cup
Premier League
Obafemi Martins
Birmingham

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