City’s FA Cup hoodoo against Wigan Athletic struck again as Will Grigg struck a late winner for the League One side to end hopes of a clean sweep of domestic silverware. The Blues played the second-half with 10 men following Fabian Delph’s straight red card and City have now lost three FA Cup ties in five years against the Latics including the 2013 final.
What happened? City, who made six changes from the side that beat FC Basel 4-0 last week, could have been a couple of goals up inside six minutes as Sergio Aguero and Ilkay Gundogan both went close with a header and a shot respectively. But Gary Roberts and Grigg might have scored within a few minutes of each other as the hosts looked to punish some indecisive defending from the Blues. The League One leaders were sitting deep and suffocating attack after attack as City dominated possession without making the home goalkeeper work too hard, though on the half-hour mark, the Blues should have gone ahead. John Stones rose highest as the ball came into the Wigan six-yard box and his header down to Fernandinho should have seen the Brazilian find the back of the net, but he blazed the ball high over the bar. Then, on the stroke of half-time, Fernandinho’s pass into Aguero’s stride saw the City striker dart into the box before unleashing a powerful shot that Christian Walton did well to push around the post. Then, in first-half added time, the game took an explosive turn as Fabian Delph’s challenge on Max Power saw the Wigan man crumple and referee Anthony Taylor produced a red card for the City defender. The decision enraged Pep Guardiola as the referee seemed to initially have a yellow card in his hand but perhaps changed his mind – it looked a booking, for sure, but a red seemed harsh. City took Leroy Sane off and Kyle Walker came in to fill the void left by Delph. The Blues looked fired up after the restart and despite playing with ten men, the pattern of play changed little with the Latics sitting deep and soaking up the pressure with every player behind the ball. Kevin De Bruyne was introduced on 64 minutes for David Silva to try an unlock a resolute home defence. As the clearances became more desperate and spaces opened up, Gundogan backheeled Danilo into the box but his low ball went across the six-yard box without being converted. It was total, one-way traffic, but still Wigan held firm. Then, the classic sucker-punch. A misjudgement from Kyle Walker allowed Will Grigg to race clear on goal and as the City defenders closed in the Norther Ireland striker tucked the ball past Claudio Bravo with just 10 minutes remaining. The Blues threw everything at the hosts in a frantic finale but just couldn’t find the equaliser – in short, it just wasn’t our night.
Key moment? Undoubtedly the decision to send Fabian Delph for an early bath was the game’s key moment – and it wasn’t hard to understand the Blues’ anger given some of the challenges that
What it means? City are out of the FA Cup while Wigan progress to the last eight and a home time with Southampton.
What’s next? Next up is a trip to Wembley as City take on Arsenal in the Carabao Cup final. The Blues will look to land a first piece of silverware under Pep Guardiola’s reign before travelling back to London the following Thursday to take on the Gunners again – this time in the Premier League.
Wigan (1): Walton; Byrne, Dunkley, Burn, Elder; Perkins, Power; Massey (Colclough, m.77), Powell (Fulton, m.27), Roberts (Jacobs, m.55) y Grigg.
Manchester City (0): Bravo; Danilo, Stones, Laporte, Delph; Gündogan, Fernandinho, David Silva (De Bruyne, m.65); Bernardo Silva, Agüero y Sané (Walker, m.46)
Goal: 1-0, m.79: Grigg.
Referee: Anthony Taylor. Red Card: Fabian Delph (46+). Bookings: Massey, Fulton, Elder, Poer y Walton