Wigan Athletic Vs N.K. Maribor
Date: Thursday 3rd October 2013
Referee: Aleksandar Stavrev
FA Cup winning manager Roberto Martinez watched on from the directors’ box as his former side beat N.K. Maribor 3-1 in the Europa League.
Wigan dominated the play early on and almost scored when Nick Powell found himself one on one with Maribor ‘keeper, Jasmin Handanovic, who subsequently made a smart save.
The inevitable Latics’ goal came in the 22nd minute when Jean Beausejour’s deflected cross looped into the six yard box and Handanovic miss-timed his punch which left Powell with an open goal to head the ball in to.
Wigan continued to attack and doubled their lead in the 30th minute as Beausejour produced a world class cross which Ben Watson simply got his head to.
Although Wigan Athletic were the side looking most dominant, Maribor had several attempts on goal as they broke after a Latics’ attack. Unfortunately for the boys in yellow, their shooting was dire and were therefore unable to score a goal.
After halftime, Wigan stuck to their game plan and attempted to win the game by a greater margin. But, it was Maribor who scored. Their excellent striker, Jean Phillipe Mendy, due to a Ryan Shotton mistake, became one on one with Scott Carson but instead of shooting he played it back across goal. Morales Tavares then slotted the ball home past Shotton, who was on the line.
Thus, began a nervy last half an hour as Maribor pushed for an equaliser and they would have gone home with a point if it were not for the heroics of Carson. Tavares curled a shot beautifully and it was heading for the top corner but Carson had other ideas and he produced an unbelievable acrobatic save to deny the Maribor man.
Then, in the last minute of the game, Powell gained the ball, glided past three Maribor defenders and sent the ‘keeper the wrong way to ensure Wigan made history by winning their first game in a European competition.
Wigan were magnificent on the night and were really playing the kind of football that they love to play. Beausejour was brilliant and showed just how good he can be when given the chance and, of course, the man from Manchester United, Nick Powell, is demonstrating his absolute class.