Second-tier Wigan have stunned Manchester City for the second straight year in the FA Cup, beating the Premier League giants 2-1 to reach the semi-finals and stay on course to retain the trophy.
Seven days after winning the League Cup final at Wembley Stadium, City was looking to return to the “Home of Football” for the last four of the FA Cup and avenge last season’s surprise defeat to Wigan in the final in May.
But Jordi Gomez and James Perch put Wigan 2-0 ahead by the 47th minute at Etihad Stadium and managed to hold on after Samir Nasri gave City hope in the 68th.
“People kept saying we were lucky last year,” Wigan captain Emmerson Boyce said, “but we’re going back to Wembley and we’re making history again.”
Wigan’s reward is a semi-final against Arsenal, which is now overwhelming favourite for the competition following its 4-1 win over Everton on Saturday and won’t have a better opportunity to end its nine-year trophy drought.
Earlier, Sheffield United became the first third-tier team to reach the semi-finals since 2001 by beating Charlton 2-0 and will next play Hull, which defeated Sunderland 3-0.
Managed by Nigel Clough, the son of late English coaching great Brian Clough, United continued its stunning exploits in the competition thanks to goals in the space of two second-half minutes by Ryan Flynn and John Brayford.
Wigan’s players threw their shirts into the crowd and took in the adulation of their fans after dashing City’s hopes of a domestic treble.
It was a tactical triumph for visiting manager Uwe Rosler, an East German who spent four years at City from 1994-98 and became a cult hero at the club.
City manager Manuel Pellegrini fielded a raft of second-string players with Wednesday’s Champions League match against Barcelona in mind and the gamble of starting without the likes of Vincent Kompany, David Silva and Fernandinho backfired.
Gomez converted a 27th-minute penalty after Martin Demichelis fouled Marc-Antoine Fortune and Perch tapped in Wigan’s second in the 47th.
City couldn’t reproduce the comeback it delivered against Sunderland in last weekend’s League Cup.
“We pressed them high, got in their faces and they didn’t like it,” Perch said. “Anything is possible now. Hopefully we can prove a few people wrong again in the semi-final against Arsenal.”
Sunderland also missed the chance for a quick return to Wembley as Hull scored three second-half goals after having a penalty saved before half-time.
Hull captain Curtis Davies rose highest in the 68th to head in Tom Huddlestone’s free kick, before David Meyler supplied a cool finish four minutes later after chasing down a punt upfield.
Lee Cattermole played a shocking back pass that left the lurking Matty Fryatt with the simplest of chances to score just minutes later.
The semi-finals will be played on April 12-13.