Talent and payroll alone don’t automatically equal results, especially against Wigan Athletic in the F.A. Cup. Just ask Manchester City.
Monday, the Latics knocked the Premier League leaders out of the world’s oldest soccer competition with a 1-0 home win. And it’s not the first time Wigan, which shares a 25,000 seat stadium with a rugby team, has eliminated Manchester City, which is bankrolled by United Arab Emirates deputy prime minister Sheikh Mansour.
In 2013, Wigan beat City, 1-0, in the F.A. Cup final a few weeks after being relegated from the Premier League. The club has since slid to the third tier of English football without losing its giant-slayer abilities, and in 2014, Wigan ousted City from the F.A. Cup quarterfinals.
Manchester City is 16 points ahead in the Premier League with 11 games to play. Manager Pep Guardiola’s team faces Arsenal in the League Cup final on Sunday and is on its way to the quarterfinals of the Champions League after a 4-0 win over Swiss side Basel in the first leg. But City is no longer in contention to become the first English team to win all four of those competitions in one season after the result against Wigan.
Monday’s match started turning south for the favorites a few seconds before the halftime whistle, when midfielder Fabian Delph attempted a risky slide tackle and received a red card.
Despite playing down a man, Manchester City kept 83 percent of the game’s possession and completed 893 passes to Wigan’s 193. Still, City put only five of its 29 shots on target to leave the door open for Wigan striker Will Grigg to pounce on Kyle Walker’s mistake in the 79th minute. Grigg leads the competition with seven goals.
After Wigan held off City in the final 10 minutes plus stoppage time, fans rushed the field. One reveler drew a shove from City striker Sergio Aguero.
Wigan is back in action Saturday against Rochdale, which tied Premier League side Tottenham, 2-2, in another round of 16 F.A. Cup game on Friday.
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