Blues top group after Brugge win
Substitute Chris Wood scored the winning goal in the 10th minute of injury-time to give Birmingham a memorable win over Club Brugge.
Last Updated: 20/10/11 10:39pm
Substitute Chris Wood scored the winning goal in the 10th minute of injury-time to give Birmingham a memorable 2-1 win over Club Brugge and put them top of Group H.
Chris Hughton's men could not have got off to a worse start as Joseph Akpala put the home side ahead with a deft touch for his seventh of the season after just three minutes.
However, David Murphy, on his 100th appearance for the club, restored parity midway through the first half to delight the thousands of fans they had brought to Belgium.
Adam Rooney and Nikola Zigic both had excellent chances to put this game out of reach but fluffed their lines each time.
A sickening clash of heads between Pablo Ibanez and Akpala saw the former stretchered off and ten minutes of added time played for the stoppage, in which Wood scored the stunning winner.
One of several changes made by Blues boss Chris Hughton saw back-up goalkeeper Colin Doyle left out after his error against NK Maribor last month, with Boaz Myhill between the posts instead.
Striker Zigic made his first European start of the season up front.
The Championship side were clear underdogs against the group leaders in Bruges, but were backed by a vociferous travelling contingent of 5,400 with many more in the city but without tickets.
Brugge made the early running and stunned the away side less than three minutes into the game.
Nabil Dirar whipped in a low cross which Akpala was able to guide home delicately.
Birmingham winger Chris Burke won an 11th-minute corner which saw Keith Fahey blast over from Wade Elliott's set-piece, while at the other end Jannes Vansteenkiste headed into the side-netting.
In the 26th minute Birmingham equalised. After surviving a spell of pressure which saw Myhill save Vadis Odjidja's shot, they forced their way up field and, when Elliott sent in the cross, Murphy was on hand to guide the ball home.
Brugge's Jonathan Blondel and City frontman Zigic were booked in separate incidents, while Murphy tested Colin Coosemans with a free-kick.
Rooney and Burke squandered decent chances and the former should certainly have done better when he prodded Zigic's knockdown just wide.
Birmingham midfielder Guirane N'daw sent a highly speculative shot from distance towards the corner flag as the second half got under way.
Dirar remained a potent threat on the right flank as he created a chance for Akpala, who could only stab wide.
Zigic should have put his side ahead in the 59th minute when Burke's cross found him lurking behind the defence, but the Serb somehow headed wide of the far post.
Brugge boss Adrie Koster made two changes in a bid to seize the initiative, sending on Jimmy De Jonghe and Thomas Meunier before referee Daniele Orsato booked Brugge's Niki Zimling for handball.
Hughton matched his opposite number's ambition by sending on strikers Marlon King and Wood for Zigic and Rooney in the 73rd minute.
They teamed up immediately as Wood's ambitious shot was deflected to a grateful Coosemans. Brugge skipper Ryan Donk was not far off scoring a near-post header in the 80th minute.
There were anxious moments in the 83rd minute when Ibanez took a heavy knock in an aerial challenge with Akpala and his team-mates gesticulated frantically to pitchside medical staff.
N'daw and Burke looked badly shaken as the Spaniard, who appeared to be unconscious, received treatment for more than six minutes before being carried from the pitch on a spinal board, replaced by Liam Ridgewell.
Elliott sent a shot wide deep into added time before Wood stunned the entire stadium with a winner in the 100th minute.Strike partner King whipped in the ball from the right and the young Kiwi stylishly guided the ball into the top right corner at the near post.
|Club Brügge||Team Statistics||Birmingham City|
|1||1st Half Goals||1|
|5||Shots on Target||5|
|6||Shots off Target||7|