x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Martins: I'll never score an easier goal

Birmingham City's Carling Cup hero described the goal which won the trophy for his side as "the easiest of my career".

Obafemi Martins, right, wheels away in celebration after his goal secured a 2-1 victory against Arsenal in the Carling Cup final.
Obafemi Martins, right, wheels away in celebration after his goal secured a 2-1 victory against Arsenal in the Carling Cup final.

Birmingham City's Carling Cup hero Obafemi Martins described the goal which won the trophy for his side as "the easiest of my career".

The substitute took advantage of a mix-up between Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny and defender Laurent Koscielny to score the winning goal in a 2-1 success in the 89th minute.

And Martins, who is on loan from Russian club Rubin Kazan until the end of the season, admitted afterwards on Sky Sports: "I think this is the easiest goal I've ever scored in my career - and it's very important.

"I'm glad I scored today and I'm glad we won. I think it was my second touch. I'm very happy.

"The gaffer [Alex McLeish] said to me that I would come on in the second half, so I think he did it right.

"It means a lot to the fans and players - we really need this trophy."

McLeish himself 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."

Ben Foster, the Birmingham goalkeeper, said the win was all about the team's spirit.

"We said all week it's 90 minutes of football and anything can happen," he told BBC 1. "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."

Captain Stephen Carr praised match-winner Martins, saying: "He showed that bit of sharpness when he came on. He's a handful."

Carr then dedicated the win to the Birmingham fans.

"That will make their year, make their life probably," he said. "A lot of people have been waiting a long time for this.

"We knew if we got right in [Arsenal's] faces we could get the result. We kept going and we just got that little bit of luck at the end."