Wigan Athletic are in the Semi-Final of the FA Cup for the second season running after stunningly defeating Manchester City 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium.
In the repeat of last year’s final, the same team came out victorious and ended the Premier League side’s hopes of a treble this season with a win that takes the holders to Wembley for the fourth game in a year.
To everyone’s shock, Wigan raced into a two goal lead after Jordi Gomez’s first half penalty and James Perch’s 47th minute strike, and Samir Nasri’s brilliant goal in the 68th minute wasn’t enough as Uwe Rosler, a former City legend, commandeered a fantastic defensive performance to hold on to the win. Rosler received a huge ovation from all the fans in the ground before kick-off, but he would go from hero to zero in just 90 minutes. Wigan constantly used their full-backs.
Wigan started well and would have a chance just a minute into the game. Callum McManaman tormented Gael Clichy before his cross was cleared by the under-fire Martin Demichelis, and the clearance fell to Gomez and he fired over the bar. Wigan constantly pressed City with the use of their full-backs and Rosler’s tactics worked perfectly, and it was Demichelis who made the error again to gift Wigan the lead.
Marc-Antoine Fortune spun away from the central defender in the left corner before stealing a way into the area. Demichelis’ recovery challenge was miss-timed and Fortune was tripped, giving referee Antony Taylor no choice but to point to the spot. Gomez stepped up to casually send City goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon the wrong way and the repeat of last year was set.
City lost their cool after the goal, and Nasri was seen punching the ground in frustration after a poor attack. McManaman was on the receiving end of an elbow that could have quite easily saw Javi Garcia be sent off, after the English forward waltzed his way around three City players.
City mustered just one shot at goal before half-time, and it got worse for Manuel Pellegrini’s men just after the interval. Clichy hesitated at James McArthur’s cross and allowed Perch to nip in and stick the ball into the back of the City net to double Wigan’s advantage. The away fans were in delirious raptures, while City fans couldn’t believe how a side could go from winning the Capital One Cup to losing to a Championship side just a week later.
Pellegrini was getting desperate, and decided to make a triple substitution bringing on Edin Dzeko, David SIlva and James Milner off the bench. However, it seemed to make no difference and Wigan’s inspiring defensive held out for a long frustrating time for City. Dzeko headed against the post, and Sergio Aguero was given a chance but Wigan’s goalkeeper Scott Carson made a superb save to keep him out.
Wigan could only hold out for so long though, and Nasri got on the end of Emmerson Boyce’s headed clearance and smashed a first time shot into the bottom corner. City fans have been used to unlikely comebacks in the past years but Carson was doing his best to keep it from happening today, keeping out Aguero twice and Boyce cleared off the line with Dzeko lurking.
Micah Richards fired wide, while Dzeko saw another header drift wide, but it was Wigan who had the final chance when Fortune was denied by Pantilimon. City were a beaten side though, and Wigan will play Arsenal in the Semi-Final at Wembley, in the hope of keeping their FA Cup crown.