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Page last updated at 21:23 GMT, Sunday, 24 April 2011 22:23 UK

Tamir Cohen praised after poignant Bolton winner

Tamir Cohen celebrates his winner with Bolton team-mates
Substitute Cohen celebrates his winner with Bolton team-mates

Tamir Cohen was hailed by Bolton boss Owen Coyle after his poignant late goal sealed a 2-1 victory over Arsenal.

Substitute Cohen headed the winner and took off his top to reveal a t-shirt tribute to his father Avi, who died in a motorbike accident in December 2010.

"I am very happy to score this goal, it's been a very emotional season for me," said Israel midfielder Cohen, 27.

Coyle said of Avi's death: "It came as a shock to everybody. I think how Tamir has coped with it is a credit to him."

Avi Cohen was the first Israeli to play in the English top flight when he signed for Liverpool in 1979. The former defender died aged 54 from head injuries sustained in the accident in Tel Aviv.

His son Tamir paid an emotional tribute after heading the 90th-minute winner at the Reebok Stadium, his first goal since his father's death, five minutes after coming off the bench.

He lifted his top to show a t-shirt with a picture of Avi, and pointed to the skies as team-mates rushed to embrace him.

Cohen was booked for his celebration by Mike Jones although the referee did appear to apologise to him later for having to caution him.

Coyle delighted with turnaround in form

"It was very emotional. I know the relationship Tamir had with his Dad and I've lost my own Dad and know how difficult that can be," said Scot Coyle.

"Avi, a week before he passed away, had spent a week with us at the training ground. Not only was he Tamir's Dad but all the players have that attachment because they recognise he was such a lovely man.

"You've seen the emotion today and the players knew what his Dad meant to him. It's very fitting that he has got the winner."

The victory also demonstrated the team spirit of a side who had been humiliated at Wembley a week earlier.

Skipper Kevin Davies apologised to fans after Bolton were thrashed 5-0 by Stoke in an FA Cup semi-final, and Coyle was delighted with his team's response.

"Regardless of what the outcome had been today, they showed tremendous strength of character and belief," said Coyle.

"It was important that we bounced back. We had our biggest crowd of the season [26,881] today and it's great to see those fans smiling. I think they all felt the hurt and disappointment of last week.

"It was a horrible day and not one that will leave me, that's for sure.

"To come out against what I think is an unbelievably gifted side and show the quality we did and get three points is a real boost for everybody at the club.

I wouldn't be surprised if there's a clamour for his signature come the summer

Bolton boss Owen Coyle on Gary Cahill

"We had some great chances, particularly in the first half and then defended with our lives when Arsenal were putting us under the cosh."

The surprise victory looks to have ended Arsenal's slim chances of winning the title, with Bolton defender Gary Cahill producing a man-of-the-match performance.

Sunday's newspapers suggested Tottenham and Liverpool are among the clubs interested in swooping for the 25-year-old and Coyle admitted he could leave at the end of the season.

"Gary Cahill is an outstanding player. For me, he could play for anybody in world football," Coyle told BBC Sport.

"There's going to come a point when he outgrows this football club. When he does, he will go with our blessing, because it will be on the back of some fantastic performances for Bolton Wanderers. It's just a natural progression in football.

"He's got a big end of the season, he's got to give me everything he's got and his team-mates in those last few games, and if something comes in the summer, then as a football club we have to look at it in the right way. I wouldn't be surprised if there's a clamour for his signature come the summer."

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see also
Bolton 2-1 Arsenal
24 Apr 11 |  Premier League
Bolton v Arsenal as it happened
24 Apr 11 |  Football
Blame me for failure, says Wenger
25 Apr 11 |  Arsenal
Israeli ex-footballer Cohen dies
28 Dec 10 |  Middle East
Premier League photos
24 Apr 11 |  Football
Bolton 0-5 Stoke
17 Apr 11 |  FA Cup

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