Wigan won the FA Cup for the first time in its 81-year history, beating big-spending Manchester City 1-0 on Saturday night in one of the biggest final upsets the tournament has seen. Ben Watson scored on a header off Shaun Maloney's corner kick in the 90th minute at Wembley Stadium, six minutes after City defender Pablo Zabaleta was given a red card.
"The boys were fantastic and they deserve it. To come on and score the winner in the FA Cup final is a dream,'' Watson told the BBC. Wigan, based near Manchester, put together its roster for less than $30 million, while City's cost more than 10 times than amount.
But season still could end on a low for Wigan, which is 18th in the Premier League at 9-19-8 with two games left. Wigan faces relegation to the second-tier League Championship next season unless it can climb in the standings.
"It's unbelievable. It's some achievement for everyone in the club. Now it's down to the league. It's a massive week for the club. We have to put on a massive show for the rest of the season,'' Wigan midfielder James McCarthy said.
Wigan was led out onto the field by chairman Dave Whelan, whose playing career ended at old Wembley stadium when he broke a leg while playing for Blackburn in the 1960 final. "Today it was David and Goliath. "It was following a dream. ...We saw the underdogs play with incredible bravery, incredible belief, and they defied the odds again. That's the FA Cup,'' Wigan manager Roberto Martinez said.
Wigan became the second history-maker this season at Wembley. Swansea won its first major trophy when it beat Bradford in the League Cup final in February.
Zabaleta became just the third player ejected from an FA Cup final when he was shown a second yellow card for fouling Callum McManaman. Manchester United's Kevin Moran was given a red card for fouling Everton's Peter Reid in 1985, and Arsenal's Jose Antonio Reyes received two yellow cards in 2005.
Source: BBC, AP