Birmingham make Arsenal pay for late blunder
London: Substitute Obafemi Martins pounced on an 89th-minute defensive blunder to give Birmingham City a 2-1 upset win over Arsenal in a dramatic League Cup final at Wembley Stadium.
Arsenal had been overwhelming favourites to end their six-year trophy drought but a mix-up between defender Laurent Koscielny and goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny allowed Martins to secure Birmingham`s first major trophy since 1963.
Birmingham, battling against relegation from the Premier League, led with a header from towering striker Nikola Zigic but Arsenal equalised through Dutchman Robin van Persie and looked poised to win the first of the four trophies they are seeking this season.
"Relatively speaking, it is the greatest moment of my career, in terms of personal achievement, when you consider the team we were up against," Birmingham manager Alex McLeish told reporters.
"For a little club like Birmingham to take on the might of Arsenal, its fantastic. We weren`t given a prayer today and think even the bookies got it totally wrong.”
"I said myself that Arsenal would win nine times out of 10. But we believed. It was a titanic performance."
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger defended his 20-year-old goalkeeper Szczesny.
"I am bitterly disappointed. I hope this won`t have a nagative affect on our season," Wenger said afterwards.
"You have to be positive because he is a young boy," he added.
"Hopefully, he will pick himself up and respond well (in the FA Cup replay against Leyton Orient) Wednesday.”
"When we conceded the goal there was no time for us to respond."