Wood's strike sinks Brugge

2011-10-21 07:24

Paris - English Championship side Birmingham City were indebted to a last-minute effort by Kiwi forward Chris Wood which secured a 2-1 win at Belgium's Bruges on Thursday to bolster hopes of winning their Europa League group.

Wood, a summer loan signing from West Bromwich Albion, struck with seconds left on the clock to make it two wins out of three for Chris Hughton's side as they went level on top of Group H with their beaten rivals.

Wood, who represented New Zealand at last year's World Cup finals, scored in the 10th minute of injury time to complete a comeback after Joseph Akpala had put the hosts ahead just three minutes.

David Murphy levelled with a neatly-taken goal on 26 minutes to cheer more than 5,000 travelling fans, who were dismayed to see their team drop out of the Premier League last May having only just lifted the League Cup under Hughton's predecessor Alex McLeish.

The added time followed treatment for Blues' defender Pablo Ibanez, who was earlier knocked unconscious in a collision with Akpala.

Group rivals Sporting Braga and Maribor parted 1-1 to leave Birmingham and Bruges both two points clear of the third-placed Slovenians.

Hughton was delighted that Ibanez appeared to have suffered no long-term ill-effects.

"Pablo was a real concern for us so we're very happy it was just concussion and he's okay," he said.

"We've had two results today. One is the scoreline and the other is the fact he is okay."

The top three in each group qualify for last 32, where they will be joined by eight teams who finish third in Champions League group stages.