Wigan Athletic have defied the odds after beating Manchester City 1-0 at the DW Stadium in the FA Cup...again. Will Grigg's goal gave the Latics a famous victory over the Premier League leaders and ultimately ends City's hopes of a quadruple winning season.
In what was a heroic, defensive performance by the League One side, Wigan were given a helping hand when referee Anthony Taylor showed a red card to Fabian Delph before half time. City created numerous chances throughout the match but could not convert and Wigan fans started to believe as the atmosphere grew around the stadium. In a moment of madness in the City defence, Irishman Grigg raced away and placed the ball past the watching Claudio Bravo to send Wigan through to the FA Cup Quarter Final where they will host Southampton.
In terms of teams news, Wigan skipper Sam Morsy had to miss out due to picking up 10 yellow cards this season. January signings Devante Cole and James Vaughan and the re-called Donervon Daniels were all cup tied. For City, Leroy Sane, David Silva and Fabian Delph all came into the starting 11, as the trio returned from injury in Tuesday night’s win against Basel in the Champions League.
City started the game at a blistering pace as Sergio Aguero's header just went over Christian Walton's crossbar inside the opening two minutes. Latics keeper Walton then made a fine save at his right post, as Ilkay Gundogan picked the ball up before releasing a strike on the edge of the box. Walton did well to palm the ball away. Wigan did create chances too as Nathan Byrne dribbled into the area and pulled the ball back to the waiting Will Grigg and Gary Roberts but Bravo was there to deny a shot. Grigg came close again three minutes later, as he held off John Stones before getting a left footed shot away but it hit the side netting of the left post. The visitors had another chance to take the lead, this time through Fernandinho as Stones knocked the ball down on the far post to the Brazilian but he fired his effort over the crossbar. Wigan held firm after more City pressure. Danilo flew the ball wide of the left post and just minutes later, Aguero's powerful shot was saved excellently by Walton. Arguably, the defining moment in the game was when Fabian Delph was sent off by Anthony Taylor on the 45 minute mark. Delph's challenge on Max Power was reckless but as the Wigan players ran over to the referee, Taylor switched his mind after initially giving Delph a yellow card.
Although a man short, City continued their dominance in possession and the introduction of Belgian star Kevin De Bruyne seemed to nerve the home crowd. After countless balls into the box and heroic blocks, Wigan's defence stood strong. Then, the moment came for Grigg. A mix up in City's back four allowed Grigg to latch onto the ball down the left side and he opened his body up to curl the ball past Bravo and into the net. The famous song, 'Will Grigg's on Fire' could be heard all around the stadium, as Wigan took an unexpected lead.
There was danger late on for the home side, as Chey Dunkley headed out for a corner but the ball just missed the outskirts of the post. After a nervous four minutes of injury time, Wigan held on for the victory and dumped the favourites Manchester City out of the FA Cup.
The Latics have now beaten three Premier League sides (Bournemouth, West Ham and Man City) in this season's FA Cup and the home faithful will be dreaming of another Cup win, as they are just 90 minutes away from a semi-final tie at Wembley.
For City, their poor FA Cup record against Wigan goes on, as the Latics have now won the last three meetings, including the famous Final win in 2013 and the Quarter Final triumph at the Etihad Stadium the season after.