CARLING CUP FINAL: Birmingham stun Arsenal and lift Carling Cup

For Arsene Wenger and Arsenal the wait for silverware goes on as Birmingham snatched a dramatic late winner to claim the Carling Cup following a 2-1 win at Wembley.
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For Arsene Wenger and Arsenal the wait for silverware goes on as Birmingham snatched a dramatic late winner to claim the Carling Cup following a 2-1 win at Wembley.

Arsenal may not have won a trophy since 2005 there will be little sympathy from Birmingham on that score as they won only their second major title in their 136 year history.

Birmingham have now won 9 of their 10 cup games this season which contrasts sharply with their league form which sees them battling against relegation.

Perhaps this result will give them confidence to avoid the drop as they held their own against the favourites taking the lead just before the half-hour.

As the Blues score most of their goals from set pieces and the Gunners concede most, it was no surprise that following a corner Nikola Zigic headed-in from close range.

But the lead lasted only 11 minutes as Arsenal responded strongly and Robin van Persie volleyed a marvellous equaliser from Andrey Arshavin’s cross.

Keith Fahey hit a post for Birmingham but just as it seemed the game was going into extra time some awful defending handed the Carling Cup trophy to the Blues.

Zigic, who was a constant threat in the air, caused confusion in the Gunners ranks and keeper Wojciech Szczesny and defender Laurent Koscielny allowed Obafemi Martins a simple tap in.

Wenger must now lift his team after the second of five games Arsenal must play in the space of 14 days, the last of which is a daunting trip to the Nou Camp to face Barcelona.

Referee: Mike Dean

Venue: Wembley Stadium
Attendance: 88,851

Arsenal scorers: Van Persie 39
Birmingham scorers: Zigic 28, Martins 89

ARSENAL
53 Szczesny
03 Sagna
06 Koscielny (yellow card)
20 Djourou
22 Clichy (yellow card)
07 Rosicky
08 Nasri
17 A Song
19 Wilshere
23 Arshavin (Chamakh 77)
10 Van Persie (Bendtner 69)

Substitutes
01 Almunia,
18 Squillaci,
27 Eboue,
28 Gibbs,
15 Denilson,
29 Chamakh,
52 Bendtner

BIRMINGHAM
26 Foster
02 Carr
05 Johnson
06 Ridgewell
28 Jiranek
04 Bowyer
07 Larsson (yellow card)
08 Gardner (Beausejour 50)
12 Ferguson (yellow card)
18 Fahey (Martins 83)
19 Zigic (Jerome 90+2 (yellow card)

Substitutes
01 Taylor,
03 Murphy,
21 Parnaby,
23 Beausejour,
09 Phillips,
10 Jerome,
17 Martins

 
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