08 August 2023

Juninho Bacuna bags brace as Birmingham beat Cheltenham in Carabao Cup

08 August 2023

Juninho Bacuna scored twice as Birmingham cruised into the second round of the Carabao Cup with a 2-0 win at Cheltenham.

The Curacao international’s first goal was a heavily deflected shot in the 24th minute which flew past goalkeeper Luke Southwood off defender Liam Smith after efforts from Keshi Anderson and Koji Miyoshi were blocked.

Miyoshi was tripped by former Birmingham defender Curtis Davies on the edge of the box seven minutes later, earning the experienced debutant a yellow card.

And Bacuna curled the resulting free-kick into the top left corner for his second of the night.

Birmingham had threatened earlier, with Lukas Jutkiewicz nodding Emmanuel Longelo’s cross wide in the 17th minute.

It was nearly 3-0 before half-time, with Miyoshi threading a ball through for Jutkiewicz, but Southwood advanced to save well.

Jordan James played Anderson through on goal in the 61st minute, but Southwood was equal to it.

Southwood denied Anderson again in the 74th minute with another one-on-one block.

The overworked keeper beat away James’ powerful drive five minutes later, but the Sky Bet Championship side had done enough and League One outfit Cheltenham failed to trouble visiting stopper Neil Etheridge throughout the 90 minutes.

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