Goalkeeper Ben Foster hailed "an amazing achievement" after his saves helped Birmingham City FC beat Arsenal FC in the League Cup final to earn the club a first stab at UEFA competition.
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After making a string of saves to help Birmingham City FC to a memorable League Cup final win against Arsenal FC, goalkeeper Ben Foster described the feat as "an amazing achievement" and labelled the prospect of UEFA Europa League football next season "unbelievable".
Foster was called upon several times towards the end of a remarkable game, the former Manchester United FC keeper twice denying Samir Nasri and Nicklas Bendtner to keep his side in contention before Obafemi Martins sealed a 2-1 success just a minute from time. Birmingham's No1 admitted that the second period had been hard going for Alex McLeish's men.
"It was a backs-to-the-wall performance," he told UEFA.com. "They had a lot of chances, but we rode the storm pretty well. We kept at it, put the ball in their box and got our reward. I made an early save from [Andrey] Arshavin and once you get your first save under your belt it settles you.
"I've won three on the bounce now," added the man of the match, who claimed the League Cup in back-to-back seasons with United before leaving Old Trafford last summer. "It's been a kind competition to me, but I think this win was a little bit more special than the other two by pure virtue of the fact that we were such underdogs. To win with a last-minute goal against a team like Arsenal was unbelievable. When the ball went in, I thought: 'Is this really happening?' It was absolutely brilliant.
"I said all week that we could win it," he continued. "We saw the other week Arsenal beat Barcelona and then drew with [fourth tier] Leyton Orient [FC]; that's football for you. Arsenal can have all the good players they want, but when you come up against team spirit like we have, that counts for a lot. We're in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup and we just need to keep that cup form going into the league and pick up a few wins."
Foster, 27, admitted that he had not even contemplated the additional spoils that League Cup success brings, with UEFA Europa League football now beckoning. "Somebody said just then in the changing rooms that we're going to be in Europe next year," he confessed. "If somebody had said that to me when I signed in the summer, I wouldn't have believed it. But it's here now, so we're going to enjoy it."
The former Watford FC loanee also had words of encouragement for Wojciech Szczęsny, whose mix-up with Laurent Koscielny gave Martins his goalscoring chance. "Unfortunately, that's the life of a goalkeeper," said Foster. "You can make a few good saves and then when you let one in at the last minute you're the villain. But you can see that he's brimming with confidence and has all the ability in the world. He just needs to put this behind him and move on – he's got a great career ahead of him."