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NK Maribor vs. Wigan Athletic F.C. - The Match Report

Wigan Athletic’s European dream came to an end on Thursday night, despite the team’s best efforts, as they were beaten 2-1 away to NK Maribor.

Ben Hoskins

NK Maribor vs. Wigan Athletic F.C.

Date: Thursday 12th December 2013

Venue: Ljudski vrt Stadium

Referee: Szymon Marciniak

Score: 2-1

Wigan Athletic’s European dream came to an end on Thursday night, despite the team’s best efforts, as they were beaten 2-1 away to NK Maribor.

Uwe Rosler, the new man in charge at Wigan Athletic, was given the rather large task of beating Maribor away from home in order for his team to make their way through the group stage of the Europa League. A lot of pressure for a man who has never experienced managing in the Championship let alone the Europa League!

Despite it being his first game as Wigan manager, the Latics started well and dominated for the majority of the first half. It took a while but the ever pressing Wigan side created their first clear cut chance in the 16th minute of the game when Nick Powell volleyed over the bar.

Wigan continued their domination of the game and, after Powell’s volley, they created more and more chances. Jordi Gomez had the ‘keeper beaten as he hit the post from a free kick.

Then, in the 40th minute, Powell won Wigan a penalty. Gomez played a fantastic ball to the Manchester United loanee who was clumsily fouled by Arghus.

Gomez scored the penalty. Just. The ‘keeper dived over the ball that had been hit straight down the middle of the goal.

The game changed irrevocably three minutes later when Chris McCann was sent off for a second bookable offence. A dubious decision. The ball hit McCann’s hand from five yards and there was nothing he could do about the position of his hands but the referee deemed it necessary to send him off anyway. And, as this ‘handball’ was inside the Wigan box, Maribor had won a penalty.

Carson saved brilliantly from Dejan Mezga and turned the ball onto the post but could not prevent the rebound being converted by the penalty taker.

For the remainder of the first half and the majority of the second Maribor were the dominant team and they were making the extra man count.

Maribor took the lead on the hour mark to put the game beyond the ten man Wigan side. Zeljko Filipovic’s wonder strike from twenty-five yards gave Maribor the lead after 59 minutes and left no way back for a Wigan side that look revitalised under the new management of Uwe Rosler.

In the closing stages Maribor were reduced to ten men as Ales Mertelj was shown a second yellow after a foul on Gomez. Then, Marc-Antoine Fortune almost gave Wigan a deserved point as his shot from 12 yards was saved well by Maribor ‘keeper, Jasmin Handanovic .

Overall, a good performance by the Latics and they look a lot sharper under new management. Their passing was better and there seems to be a direction now compared to Owen Coyle’s clueless reign.