Cardiff City vs. Wigan Athletic
Date: Saturday 15th February 2014
Venue: The Cardiff City Stadium
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Uwe Rosler pulled off a tactical master plan as his Wigan Athletic side overcame Cardiff City 2-1 in the fifth round of the F.A. Cup on Saturday.
Chris McCann scored after eighteen minutes as he turned in a low cross before Fraizer Campbell equalised soon after due to some abject defending from the Latics.
It wasn’t long, however, until Wigan restored their lead. Ben Watson lashed in Wigan’s second goal of the afternoon, and the eventual winner, from thirty yards.
The early stages of the match were fairly even but it was Wigan who had the first clear cut chance to score as Watson played a superb ball across the pitch into the path of James Perch, who could only shoot two yards wide.
As Wigan began to assert their dominance on the game, McCann opened the scoring as he placed the ball past David Marshall. Jordi Gomez worked hard to get the ball before crossing into the box and McCann was left unmarked as Wilfried Zaha made no attempt to cut out the pass.
After this goal, Cardiff pressed Wigan and began to create a few chances for themselves, with Zaha being the main creative outlet for the home side. This period of sustained pressure got Cardiff an equaliser as Wigan failed to clear their lines and Campbell lashed the ball past Ali Al-Habsi, who did not move.
Campbell had another chance to score soon after as he headed over the bar from a Zaha cross. Towards the end of this exciting first half, Cardiff were the better side and were pushing for a goal to take them into the lead.
Against the run of play, the Latics scored their second of the afternoon. Marc-Antoine Fortune won a free-kick thirty yards from goal and Gomez and Watson stepped up. Gomez laid the ball off to Watson who unleashed a pile-driver which almost broke the net.
On the stroke of halftime, Juan Cala almost equalised for the bluebirds as he headed against the post. But, going into halftime, the score was 2-1 to the Latics.
The second period was a lot less interesting than the first although Cardiff continued to push for an equaliser. In the last ten minutes, however, Al-Habsi was called into action a few times: Mats Moller Daehli had a shot tipped over the bar before Zaha saw a shot parried away. Then, in the dying seconds, Craig Noone was left unmarked at the back post and managed to get a shot at goal, which Al-Habsi was equal to.
Rosler’s tactics were spot on against Cardiff as Wigan did not play brilliantly but they took their chances and managed to defend well for large periods of the game. Ali Al-Habsi was, once again, on top form and denied Cardiff several times.
Wigan can now look forward to a quarter final tie away at Manchester City. Rosler will be able to pitch his tactics against a really good side who defeated the Latics 5-0 in the league cup earlier in the season.