MAN CITY 0, WIGAN ATHLETIC 1
Minnows Wigan Athletic created a footballing fairytale as they defeated mighty Manchester City in the final of the FA Cup with Budweiser.
An injury-time winning goal from substitute Ben Watson caused heartbreak for 10-man City who were beaten by opponents who are battling for Premier League survival.
It was a victory against all odds as City had won their last seven meetings in which Wigan hadn’t even managed a goal.
But Roberto Martinez’s side produced a gritty display as they sprang yet another surprise in this season of remarkable upsets in the FA Cup.
And it was Watson, who hadn’t been on the field for 10 minutes, who inflicted the decisive blow in stoppage time which will only heighten pressure on City manager Roberto Mancini whose future is again under the spotlight.
Mancini admitted City were below par, but still thought they were unlucky to lose.
He said: “We didn’t play a good game which is unusual for us as it was a final.
“We had problems and didn’t play well, though we didn’t deserve to lose as we had two incredible chances to score. But when you concede a goal in the last minute it is difficult and I am pleased for Martinez.”
Mancini, speaking on his own future, explained that it will become clear within two or three weeks whether the speculation is true.
“I don’t need to ask the club (about his position) and there is no reason for me to do so,
“It has been spoken about for six months and I don’t know why the club didn’t stop it because it is not correct.”
Mancini believes finishing second represents a good season for City adding that similar questions about the future of Sir Alex Ferguson weren’t raised last season when they finished the season empty handed.
He said: “After winning the Premier League for the first time for many years, the second season is always difficult. If we finish second it has been a good season.
“If we made a mistake, it was in the last market when we didn’t improve enough.
“And I am sure I have done a good job in the three years I have been here.”
City had the first goal attempt of the match in the fourth minute after Sergio Aguero was fouled just outside the penalty area.
Carlos Tevez smashed the free kick into the defensive wall and the rebound fell to Yaya Youre whose drive was well turned away by keeper Joel Robles.
Wigan were far from fazed and Callum McManaman could and perhaps should have given then a ninth-minute lead.
McManaman, released by a superb crossfield pass, cut in from the right before curling his shot wide of the far post.
City were denied by the legs of Robles as they came within a whisker of taking the lead just before the half hour.
Samir Nasri and Aguero sliced open the Wigan defence for Tevez whose shot struck the outstretched leg of the keeper before looping just over the crossbar.
Wigan were more than matching their more illustrious opponents and McManaman had another glorious chance when he burst through the City defence and cut inside only to see his goalbound shot blocked by Pablo Zabaleta.
Robels prevented Nasri from giving City the lead just before half time making a flying save low to his left to turn away his well-placed shot.
City continued where they left off as Aguero had a shot deflected for a corner while Vincent Kompany’s header landed on the roof of the net. There was also a shout for a penalty when Aguero was challenged by Paul Scharner.
McManaman remained Wigan’s major threat and, after a weaving run, his goalbound shot was blocked by Kompany.
Wigan’s Shaun Maloney came closest to breaking the deadlock in the 76th minute when his free kick, for which Matija Nastasic was booked, looped over the head of keeper Joe Hart before hitting the top of the crossbar.
City were reduced to 10 men with six minutes left when Zabaleta was sent off for a second booking of the half as he brought down McManaman who was racing clean through on goal. Maloney’s free kick flew narrowly wide.
Wigan snatched victory four seconds into three minutes of stoppage time when Watson met Maloney’s corner at the near post and saw his header loop over the head of Hart to leave City crestfallen.