Soccer

On this day in 2011: Obafemi Martins scores late winner in Carling Cup final

The substitute tucked the ball home into an empty net to seal victory and he described his goal post-match as “the easiest of my career”.

On this day in 2011, Obafemi Martins, left, scored the winner as Birmingham beat Arsenal 2-1 in the Carling Cup final
On this day in 2011, Obafemi Martins, left, scored the winner as Birmingham beat Arsenal 2-1 in the Carling Cup final On this day in 2011, Obafemi Martins, left, scored the winner as Birmingham beat Arsenal 2-1 in the Carling Cup final (Nick Potts/PA)

On this day in 2011, Obafemi Martins scored a late winner for Birmingham to beat Arsenal 2-1 in the Carling Cup final.

Nikola Zigic headed the Blues in front in the 28th minute before Robin van Persie found the equaliser with a volley.

The game looked destined for extra time when a mix-up at the back from Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny and goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny proved costly.

Szczesny spilled Zigic’s header after Koscielny mis-kicked the ball and the loose ball rolled into the path of an unmarked Martins.

The substitute then tucked the ball home into an empty net to seal victory and he described his goal post-match as “the easiest of my career”.

“I think this is the easiest goal I’ve ever scored in my career – and it’s very important,” Martins said.

“I’m glad I scored today and I’m glad we won. I think it was my second touch. I’m very happy.”

Reflecting on the costly mix-up, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger revealed both Szczesny and Koscielny were left “destroyed”.

Martins’ goal proved decisive as Birmingham lifted the trophy
Soccer – Carling Cup – Final – Arsenal v Birmingham City – Wembley Stadium Martins’ goal proved decisive as Birmingham lifted the trophy (Clive Gee/PA)

He said: “Both of them [Koscielny and Szczesny] are destroyed. We have to lift them up again and help them, that is what a team is about, that is part of the game.

“It was a lack of communication, determination a little bit as well. Like always, when the ball is in no-man’s land, someone has to take responsibility and go for it.

“What was amazing [was that] no-one was going for the ball from Birmingham.”