MAN CITY 1, WIGAN ATHLETIC 2
Manchester City’s dream of another Wembley appearance was ended as they were victims of a massive FA Cup giantkilling act.
Championship club Wigan Athletic, managed by City legend Uwe Rosler, were rank 16/1 outsiders to reach the semi finals.
But they overcame seemingly impossible odds to end City’s hopes of landing a domestic treble and overall quadruple.
Jordi Gomez’ first-half penalty and a James Perch’s strike sealed a win for Wigan who repeated their FA Cup final win against City last May.
It was only in the last quarter of the game that City provided some fight after a Samir Nasri goal gave them a foothold back into the match.
City launched a fierce bombardment of the visiting goal, but were unable to wipe out a two-goal deficit as they did against Championship club Watford in the fourth round.
Wigan defended resolutely if not luckily at times as they booked a last-four match against Arsenal.
City manager Manuel Pellegrini admitted his side may have under-estimated the threat from Wigan.
He said: “May be we thought it would be not too difficult, but when we reacted it was too late.
“I think may be it was our worst half of the year. It is difficult to say we were unlucky, but we deserved to draw.
“We had three or four good chances, but left it too late to score.”
Pellegrini described it as two games in one, the first until the 46th minute when Wigan built a 2-0 lead and the second after they launched their comeback.
City’s manager added his side must overcome the setback.
He continued: “We have won one trophy and have to continue in the Champions League and Premier League and there is a lot to play for until the end of the season.
“We have to try and win at Barcelona and continue to reach the top of the table with three games in hand.”
Pellegrini added that his squad rotation was based on the international commitments of his players in midweek.
Rosler described the win as his proudest moment in management.
He said: “It was an unbelievable achievement to back up last year, and the players deserve all the credit in the world for the way they won it.
“We didn’t park the bus, but played good football which makes it my biggest achievement as a manager.
“It was an incredible achievement last year to win it and put the football club on a world stage, but reaching the semi final is an equal achievement.”
City made six changes to the team which kicked off the final of the Capital One Cup as manager Pellegrini clearly had eyes on Wednesday’s Champions League match at Bayern Munich.
There were recalls for Joleon Lescott, Micah Richards, Gael Clichy, Javi Garcia, Jesus Navas and Alvaro Negredo.
They replaced Pablo Zabaleta, Vincent Kompany, Aleksandar Kolarov, Fernandinho, David Silva and Edin Dzeko.
It was still a string City side with Sergio Aguero and Negredo their strike duo with Yaya Toure and Nasri in midfield while the bench contained the likes of Joe Hart, Kompany, Silva and Dzeko.
Wigan made a spirited start and weren’t troubled until midway through the half when Ivan Ramis came close to scoring an own goal as he deflected a cross from Navas. Keeper Scott Carson managed to grab the ball on the goalline.
After a spell of City pressure, Wigan snatched a shock 27th minute lead after Martin Demichelis conceded a penalty for a challenge ob Marc-Antoine Fortune as Gomez scored from the spot.
And it got even better for Wigan soon after the restart when Perch doubled their advantage.
James McArthur burst into the box and from the left cross to the far post where Perch caught Clichy napping as he forced home a close-range shot.
Pellegrini’s response was to make a triple substitution in the 52nd minute as Toure, Navas and Negredo made way for Silva, Dzeko and James Milner.
City’s best chance of the match came midway through the second period when Dzeko’s headed against the upright from a Clichy cross.
That chance sparked City to life and they finally opened their account in 68th minute when Richards laid the ball into the path of Nasri who, from the edge of the box, fired how to the left of keeper Carson.
There was controversy as replays showed Lescott was in an offside position and impairing the view of Carson.
City suddenly realised they could retrieve what appeared a lost cause as they laid siege to the Wigan goal.
Emmerson Boyce made a vital clearance to prevent Dzeko from scoring inside the six-yard box, Aguero had a shot pushed to safety by Carson while Dzeko headed just wide as City cranked up the pressure.
Fortune had a chance to seal victory early in the five minutes of stoppage time, but keeper Costel Pantilimon made an important block.
And it was a measure of how well Wigan defended that City never seriously looked like equalising in added time.