Blues knocked out by Wigan for second successive season
FA Cup Sixth Round
Sunday 9 March 2014, 16.05 KO
City: Pantilimon, Richards, Demichelis, Lescott, Clichy, Navas (Dzeko 53), Toure (c) (Silva 53), Garcia, Nasri, Negredo (Milner 53), Aguero
Unused: Hart, Kompany, Kolarov, Rodwell
Goals: Nasri (68)
Booked: Nasri, Toure, Milner, Dzeko,
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Man of the Match: Samir Nasri
Wigan have knocked City out of the FA Cup for the second successive season. The Blues threw the kitchen sink at the visitors, but a sloppy first hour of the game was too much to recover from and the Latics fully deserved their place in the semi-finals, defending well against a sluggish City.
There was little in the way of early action – aside from some neat footwork from Pantilimon to escape the attention of McManaman – and when the chances came, they were for the away side. Gomez lashed a shot over the crossbar, before Navas almost forced an own goal with a low cross.
But City’s sloppiness was soon punished. A quick throw-in on the right wasn’t dealt with and Fortune got the wrong side of Demichelis, who brought him down inside the box. The referee pointed to the spot and Gomez sent Pantilimon the wrong way. It should have been a wake-up call… but it wasn’t.
And that was that for the first half – City huffed and puffed in possession, but got nowehere, with Wigan holding firm. Tackles flew in and players argued, but, in truth, there was little in them – though quite how Boyce avoided a yellow card for clatting Negredo from behind is a mystery.
The fans’ hopes that Pellegrini might have given his team a kick up the backside at half time were snuffed out inside two minutes of the second half. Richards didn’t cut out a low cross into the box, while Pantilimon remained rooted to his line when he might have claimed the ball. To complete the hat-trick of errors, Clichy was daydreaming and allowed Perch to get there first to slot home.
Pellegrini reacted with three substitutions, but it still took City after the hour mark to come close to pulling a goal back. A high ball into the box was headed back across goal by Dzeko, but the effort clipped the inside of the post and bounced clear – with Silva unable to touch it home.
With just over 20 minutes to play, Nasri dragged City back into the tie. A corner was only half cleared to the edge of the box, where Richards nodded it to the Frenchman. His volley missed Lescott in the middle and found the back of the net, via the inside of the post.
Two minutes later, City should have been on terms – Richards had a right-footed effort from inside the box, but it bent away from the top corner when he had a golden chance to hit the target. Aguero then almost added the luckiest goal he would have ever scored, blocking a clearance that Carson needed to back-peddle to catch.
Milner played in a brilliant low cross for Dzeko and the Bosnian must have thought he’d scored from six yards, but Boyce got there first to clear over his own crossbar. The striker then headed wide from a brilliant Nasri cross.
Pellegrini has gone out of his first cup competition as City boss and questions will be raised about his team selection and tactical approach – the manager was probably naïve, while his team were complacent. Wigan fully deserved to progress and knock the Blues out for the second season running.