Carling Cup Final: Birmingham City 2-1 Arsenal

Oba Martins and Nikola Zigic Celebrate 

Birmingham City have won their first major trophy since 1963. Alex McLeish's side were even in the 89th minute when Laurent Koscielny distracted his goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny by seeming ready to kick away a long ball. Birmingham substitute Obafemi Martins shot in the winner with ease.

“This is the easiest goal I scored in my career and this was very important,” said Martins “We’re very happy.”

Arsenal remains in the hunt for three trophies. The Gunners sit four points behind first-place Manchester United in the Premier League, lead Barcelona 2-1 after the opening match in the Champions League round of 16, and will play United in the F.A. Cup quarterfinals. Arsenal hopes for its first trophy since the F.A. Cup in 2005.

Birmingham will now play in European soccer’s Europa League next season - and are on course for a trophy double this season, with an F.A. Cup quarterfinal against Bolton next month.

Nikola Zigic put the Blues ahead after 28 minutes at Wembley Stadium and Robin van Persie equalized for the Gunners on 39 minutes. Martins then secured Birmingham’s victory in the 89th minute, knocking the ball in from close range after a defensive blunder, before celebrating with his trademark somersault.

“We weren’t given a prayer by the pundits and the bookies,” Birmingham manager Alex McLeish said.

"It's an achievement when you consider who we were up against. We weren't given a prayer by the pundits and the bookies but we believed today. 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.

"We thought if we could keep in it for as long as we could we'd get the quick guys on who can win it for us (Martins and Cameron Jerome). We didn't deal with the equaliser well. Roger Johnson could have let it run out for a throw-in but he kept it in play. Too many of us were out of position and Robin van Persie's movement for the goal was magnificent.

"But no doubt you need a little bit of luck - and we deserved it today.''

Blues goalkeeper Ben Foster remarked.

"We said all week it's 90 minutes of football and anything can happen,'' he told BBC1. "That's why we all love football so much.

"The main thing was that the lads kept fighting. You could see how tired we were but we just kept working and working. That's the spirit we've got.''

On the goal, he added: "Thank God it fell to Oba. He doesn't miss from there. I think I could have scored that.''

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