Manchester City 1 - 2 Wigan Athletic: City Stunned
Manchester City 1 - 2 Wigan Athletic
SCORERS: Man City: Nasri (68), Wigan: Gomez (27pen), Perch (47)
Referee: A Taylor
Venue: Etihad stadium
JORDI Gomez and James Perch struck as Wigan stunned Manchester City again to keep their FA Cup defence going with a 2-1 win at the Etihad Stadium.
Gomez converted a penalty after more bad defending by the erratic Martin Demichelis and Perch tapped in early in the second half as the holders booked a semi-final date with Arsenal.
Samir Nasri did pull one back as City produced a strong finish but they were unable to prevent a repeat of Wigan’s shock victory in last year’s final at Wembley.
The result was a tactical triumph for former City striker Uwe Rosler, who has revived Wigan’s fortunes since taking over as manager in December. For City boss Manuel Pellegrini, the decision to leave the likes of Vincent Kompany, David Silva and Fernandinho out of his starting XI – with Wednesday’s Champions League trip to Barcelona in mind – backfired.
Perch admitted Wigan’s gameplan to take the attack to City had paid huge dividends. Asked how they accomplished beating them again, he paid tribute to Rosler. The former Newcastle midfielder said: “It was just the gameplan we had all week, we’ve worked on it hard, we’ve had four weeks to prepare for it and the gaffer’s got us geed up for this game.
“It’s the FA Cup, I don’t think you need to work too hard on getting people geed up, it’s the magic of the FA Cup. He [Rosler] told us to press them high and get in their faces, and they didn’t like it. I think it paid off.”
After learning his side would next play Arsenal, Perch added: “It’s good, it’s a one-off game, no-one thought we would come here and win. Maybe we can prove a few people wrong again.”
Wigan may not play the same passing game that they did under Roberto Martinez but, in terms of effort and commitment, their display evoked memories of last year’s glorious cup run.
Wigan created the game’s first chance after two minutes but Gomez blasted well over.
City did appear to gain a measure of control in the opening 25 minutes and Scott Carson needed to react quickly as Ivan Ramis almost turned a Jesus Navas cutback into his own net.
But, with Demichelis in the back line, City do appear error-prone. The former Malaga defender, whose list of gaffes is growing, was the culprit again as he was beaten by Marc-Antoine Fortune and then clumsily brought the Wigan forward down. Gomez, a former youth team-mate of Lionel Messi at Barcelona, rifled home the spot-kick.
City needed to respond and there were promising signs as Nasri wriggled his way into the area only for his cross to drift over the bar.
Wigan refused to be intimidated and Callum McManaman, who ran City ragged at Wembley, appeared in the mood to do so again.
City seemed well aware of this and marked him out for special attention.
He was brought down crudely by Javi Garcia on the right and then Micah Richards attempted to haul him down on the opposite side.
Play continued on the latter occasion and Richards took out his frustration with a mistimed challenge on Gomez. Several players from both sides then became involved in a melée and McManaman gestured that he had been elbowed. Pictures appeared to back up his claims.
Wigan applied more pressure and it paid off inside the opening two minutes of the second half as James McArthur took advantage of more poor defending to break through on the left.
He pulled the ball back across goal and Perch nipped in ahead of Gael Clichy to tap in at the far post.
Wigan threatened another within moments of the restart as Fortune clipped the post but the flag had already been raised for offside.
Pellegrini realised it was time for drastic action and made a triple substitution, sending on James Milner, Edin Dzeko and Silva after 53 minutes.
The changes turned the tide and City gained the upper hand.
Dzeko headed against the post within minutes of coming on and the atmosphere was cranked up.
City set up camp in the Wigan half and broke through the visitors’ rearguard when a low drive from Nasri just outside the area crept beyond the diving Carson.
Even then there was an element of controversy with Joleon Lescott, standing in an offside position, having flicked a boot at the ball as it went through.
It was tough for Wigan to hold out and they got lucky when Aguero was incorrectly flagged offside before Dzeko had a shot blocked. Dzeko then looked certain to score as Milner drilled in a low cross but Emmerson Boyce produced a remarkable last-ditch clearance. Carson saved well from Aguero, Milner had a shot blocked and Dzeko headed wide as City laid siege to the Wigan goal.
Five minutes of injury time were played and City goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon went forward for a last-gasp corner but Wigan held on.