Sport Soccer

Monday 22 October 2018

Grigg on fire again as brave Wigan shatter City

Wigan 1 Manchester City 0

Fabian Delph fouls Max Power in the incident that led to the Manchester City defender being sent off in last night’s English FA Cup fifth round tie. Photo: Getty Images
Fabian Delph fouls Max Power in the incident that led to the Manchester City defender being sent off in last night’s English FA Cup fifth round tie. Photo: Getty Images

Jason Burt

Will Grigg's on fire. And Manchester City's hopes of an unprecedented quadruple have gone up in flames. This was the most incredible FA Cup tie, with Pep Guardiola involved in a furious tunnel bust-up with Wigan manager Paul Cook at half-time.

It appeared that would overshadow everything, but Grigg changed that with his goal as the League One side knocked out City to cause one of the biggest Cup upsets ever. It is hard to quantify the scale of it, given just how imperious City have been this season. They played the second half with 10 men, but this was still a seismic result.

Wigan's Will Grigg scores his team's first goal. Photo: Getty Images
Wigan's Will Grigg scores his team's first goal. Photo: Getty Images

Wigan now face Southampton in the quarter-finals, but what a story unfolded here. Guardiola opened himself up to the accusation of hypocrisy with his behaviour as he harangued Cook. The pair had to be separated by Peter Reid, who now works on Wigan's coaching staff.

It followed the dismissal of Fabian Delph, for a tackle deemed dangerous, and given the City manager's impassioned plea for referees to defend players from such apparent challenges, he will be criticised for his actions.

City have their Tunnel Club - for VIPs to watch the players - but this was about the Tunnel Cam with TV cameras picking up Guardiola running towards Cook in the tunnel. Guardiola was unrestrained in his apoplectic reaction after he saw Cook and pursued him.

On half-time, as the additional minute was announced, the game exploded in controversy. Delph was sent off. The full-back had lunged, two-footed at Max Power to try to win the ball back.

Manchester City's Leroy Sane speaks to referee Anthony Taylor. Photo: Getty Images
Manchester City's Leroy Sane speaks to referee Anthony Taylor. Photo: Getty Images

Initially, referee Anthony Taylor pulled out a yellow card. The Wigan players angrily crowded around him and the official changed his mind - was he given additional information in his ear? - and the red card was shown.

City were furious. Sergio Aguero confronted Cook and had to be pulled away by Guardiola. The two managers continued to argue as they walked down the tunnel after the half-time whistle.

Just before the incident, Aguero should have provided City with the lead as he smartly turned Dan Burn, only for his powerful shot to be pushed away by Christian Walton.

The tie had taken a huge, contentious twist. Wigan had played extremely well. The build-up had been dominated by the deeds of 2013, Wigan's greatest day, when they won the FA Cup and beat City in the final and they played on that.

Manchester City's Bernardo Silva with Wigan's Dan Burn. Photo: Getty Images
Manchester City's Bernardo Silva with Wigan's Dan Burn. Photo: Getty Images

Placard

"Priceless", as a cardboard placard held up by one young fan read as they again prepared to face the riches of City.

Wigan's manager then was Roberto Martinez and he was here, as was Emmerson Boyce, who captained the club that day, and it was a reminder of how dreams can be realised in this competition.

In fact they beat City again the following season, when Wigan were a Championship side, to earn a place in the semi-finals, which meant that Guardiola arrived at the stadium knowing his two predecessors - Roberto Mancini and Manuel Pellegrini - had lost to Wigan in this competition.

A young fan displays a banner prior to the Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round match between Wigan Athletic and Manchester City. Photo: Getty Images
A young fan displays a banner prior to the Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round match between Wigan Athletic and Manchester City. Photo: Getty Images

His team selection spoke to City's strength, with six changes but a dazzling array of talent - and more stationed on the bench.

Wigan beat two Premier League sides - Bournemouth and West Ham United - to reach this round and were intent on taking this tie to their opponents.

They packed the midfield, they worked hard and they were determined to counter-attack. Their cause was helped by a shaky start from City full-back Danilo, who gifted two chances in the opening dozen minutes.

For the first, the Brazilian mis-controlled Gavin Massey's low cross, allowing it through his legs, with the ball trickling to Gary Roberts, who should have done better than allow goalkeeper Claudio Bravo to smother.

Then Danilo's careless pass was intercepted by lone striker Grigg, who ran at the back-pedalling John Stones, before shooting into the side-netting.

City had chances. Walton turned away Ilkay Gundogan's shot, Laporte should have finished from the midfielder's flick and Fernandinho was even more wasteful as Stones headed back Delph's cross, only for the midfielder to lean back and blaze the ball over.

City had 83pc of possession, but had not made the breakthrough and were now a man down. The pattern of the game did not change. City continued to push; Wigan attempted to spring at them quickly.

The crowd became even more raucous. They sensed the possibility of an amazing upset. Guardiola acted. On came Kevin De Bruyne and he burst into the area to set up Aguero, whose first shot was blocked, as was the follow up.

But stunningly, it was Wigan who scored, with Kyle Walker hugely at fault as he deliberately allowed Callum Elder's speculative ball down the flank to run under his foot. It ran to Grigg, who sprinted towards goal and had the calmness to stroke his shot past Bravo and into the net.

The stadium exploded. What drama.

© Daily Telegraph, London

Telegraph.co.uk

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