Wigan 2 Manchester City 1: Another set back for the City cash revolution
Sunday 28 September 2008
Manchester City's multi-million pound revolution took another setback after Wigan claimed a narrow victory in their Barclays Premier League clash at the JJB Stadium.
City struggled to break down organised Wigan, despite including the expensive talents of British record signing Robinho in their side - along with summer imports Jo and Vincent Kompany.
Brighton had knocked City out of the Carling Cup in midweek and Latics boss Steve Bruce won the tactical battle - and took the bragging rights - with his former Manchester United team-mate Mark Hughes thanks to Amr Zaki's 34th-minute penalty.
Antonio Valencia had given Wigan the lead with a spectacular 16th-minute opening goal from long range.
Kompany's close-range finish from Elano's free-kick five minutes later pulled the visitors level but City were unable to find an equaliser in the second half.
City boss Hughes recalled record signing Robinho as he made five changes from the team which were eliminated by Brighton.
Robinho along with Shaun Wright-Phillips, Javier Garrido, Micah Richards and Joe Hart came in for Michael Ball, Tal Ben Haim, Michael Johnson, Daniel Sturridge and Kasper Schmeichel.
Wigan boss Steve Bruce makes two changes to the side which won 4-1 at Ipswich with Kevin Kilbane and Paul Scharner replaced by Maynor Figueroa and skipper Mario Melchiot.
The hosts had the first opportunity in the 13th minute from a short corner when the ball found striker Zaki on the right edge of the penalty area - but his ambitious shot flew just over the bar.
The Latics then took the lead with a spectacular strike from Valencia three minutes later.
City failed to clear the danger from a free-kick and Valencia controlled the ball 30 yards out on the right side of the area before he lashed a shot past goalkeeper Hart into the top-right corner of the net.
The visitors almost equalised moments later after neat build-up play but Robinho's shot from the edge of the box went just past the post.
However, Hughes' side did pull level in the 21st minute from a free-kick - after Wright-Phillips had been fouled by Figueroa.
Elano whipped the dead ball into the penalty area and Belgium international Kompany was able to steer the ball home from inside the six-yard box.
Wigan were given a chance to restore their lead in the 34th minute when they were awarded a penalty by referee Steve Bennett after Javier Garrido was deemed to have fouled Wilson Palacios inside the box.
The decision seemed debatable with Garrido having made minimal contact with Palacios and Bennett booked Robinho for his protests.
Zaki took the resulting spot-kick and confidently sent Hart the wrong way with a placed effort into the bottom-right corner of the net.
City were denied a penalty of their own just before half-time when Richard Dunne fell under pressure from Emile Heskey but Bennett waved away their appeals.
Wigan began the second period brightly and Titus Bramble went close with a header which drifted wide of the post from Valencia's cross five minutes after the interval.
Latics boss Bruce was then forced into a change in midfield when Lee Cattermole picked up an injury and was replaced by Michael Brown.
Brazilian playmaker Elano came closer to an equaliser in the 61st minute with a long-range attempt which beat the dive of Chris Kirkland but flew past the post.
Wright-Phillips forced Kirkland to make his first real save of the half when he struck a near-post shot in the 73rd minute.
The ineffective Jo was withdrawn by Hughes a minute later in favour of Ched Evans as City pressed for an equaliser - and he almost had an immediate impact.
The Wigan defence struggled to deal with a long ball and Kirkland missed his kick as he came off his line - but with the ball rolling towards goal Wigan cleared.
City continued to create a series of half-chances but the Wigan defence stood firm and frequently looked dangerous on the break.
Zaki then had a late chance to add a third in the final minute of injury-time on the counter-attack but Hart tipped his shot over the bar.
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