Birmingham strike late to beat Club Brugge
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Club Brugge KV 1-2 Birmingham City FC
Substitute Chris Wood stole in to score after ten minutes of added time as Chris Hughton's Blues won a second Group H away game.
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Spurred on by their vociferous travelling supporters, Birmingham City FC found a winner in the tenth minute of added time to take all three points against Club Brugge KV in UEFA Europa League Group H.
The first half ended all-square after David Murphy answered Joseph Akpala's early strike. Previously unbeaten at home against English opposition in UEFA competition, Club Brugge pressed hard in the second half but were undone at the end by substitute Chris Wood's confident close-range strike.
Club Brugge caught the Birmingham defence napping with a goal in the third minute after Nabil Dirar picked out Nigerian forward Akpala with a cross from the right. Birmingham pushed on in response, with Murphy and Keith Fahey taking increasingly advanced positions to supplement Nikola Žigić's aerial power, and the English side equalised on 26 minutes, Murphy getting in behind the defenders to convert a stinging Wade Elliott cross.
Murphy's fine free-kick six minutes later brought an acrobatic save from Club Brugge goalkeeper Colin Coosemans and, a minute before half-time, in-form Vadis Odjidja fired a spectacular long-range effort that grazed Boaz Myhill's left-hand upright.
Birmingham started the second half brightly, and while Žigić failed to convert a free header on the hour mark, the arrival of substitutes Wood and Marlon King in the 73rd minute seemed to suggest that Blues manager Chris Hughton felt this game was there for the winning.
Eight minutes from the end, a clash of heads between Akpala and Pablo Ibáñez meant both players were given lengthy medical attention. While Birmingham's Spanish defender was taken off as a result, the Blues kept their composure and seized all three points when Wood beat Ryan Donk to King's cross and fired into the top corner.