On This Day in 2011: Obafemi Martins Fires Birmingham To A Stunning EFL Cup win

On this day in 2011, Nigeria’s Obafemi Martins scored the winner as Birmingham beat Arsenal 2-1 to win the Carling Cup final.

Arsenal went into the final as red-hot favourites as they attempted to end their six-year wait for a trophy.

In the event, it was Birmingham’s Nigeria international striker Martins who stole the headlines with a last-gasp winner which sent the silverware to St Andrews instead.

The former Super Eagles forward was subbed on with seven minutes left in regulation time in his only appearance in the competition for Birmingham and he scored on 89 minutes to hand victory to the club.

The Nigerian featured only six times for Birmingham City in all competitions that season viz four in the Premier League and one each in the EFL and FA Cups.

The goal was also his third against Arsenal in eight appearances, scoring one against the Gunners in the Champions League (for Inter Milan),Premier League (for Newcastle) and in the EFL Cup.

The Gunners arrived at Wembley sitting in second place in the Premier League table and few gave the lowly Blues much chance of upsetting the odds in advance.

However, they set out their stall from the off and although they needed the help of a catastrophic error to seal their triumph, few could argue with the outcome.

Alex McLeish’s men might have got off to the perfect start when midfielder Lee Bowyer was felled as he rounded keeper Wojciech Szczesny, a foul which would have resulted in a second-minute penalty and the Poland international’s dismissal had a questionable offside flag not handed him a reprieve.

Unbowed, they took a 28th-minute lead through Nikola Zigic’s header and although Robin van Persie levelled before the break, they were not to be denied.

As the clock ticked down towards the final minute, a mix-up between Szczesny and defender Laurent Koscielny allowed striker Martins to fire into an empty net to secure a famous 2-1 victory.

The joy of that day was tempered three months later when Birmingham slipped out of the top flight after winning just two of their remaining 12 league games.

Arsenal’s disappointment was compounded when they were knocked out of both the Champions League and the FA Cup by Barcelona and Manchester United respectively before finishing in fourth place in the league.

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