Wigan Athletic have been rewarded for knocking high-flying Manchester City out of the FA Cup with a second trip to Wembley within 12 months.
The FA Cup holders repeated their feat of overcoming City in last season’s final at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, despite the fact that the club has been relegated from the Premier League and seen their inspirational manager Roberto Martinez depart for Everton in the meantime.
Wigan’s route to the semi-final has also included notable wins over Premier League sides Crystal Palace and Cardiff City and they now face Arsenal in their semi-final tie.
In the other semi-final, League One side Sheffield United will play Hull City. “To win – and the way we won – is my biggest achievement as a football manager,” Wigan manager Uwe Rosler said. “We did not do it just by parking the bus and being lucky. We played very good football and over long periods.”
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Hunt’s sportsmanship a shining light
Germany midfielder Aaron Hunt has been hailed for his sportsmanship after refusing to accept a penalty decision that was wrongly awarded in his favour. The 27-year-old Werder Bremen captain told referee Manuel Graefe to reverse his 75th-minute decision to award Werder a penalty, after Nuremberg’s defender Javier Pinola had appeared to bring down Hunt in the box.
“Out of instinct, I wanted to provoke the penalty, but that was wrong,” Hunt told Sky Sports. “I struggled with myself a bit (to say something), but we don’t want to win any games like that, even if we are in a relegation battle.” Bremen went on to win 2-0.
Fulham’s chances are diminishing: Magath
Fulham manager Felix Magath has admitted that his side’s Premier League status is hanging by a thread after their 3-1 defeat by fellow cellar dwellers Cardiff City. Magath, Fulham’s third manager of a turbulent season, boldly predicted that he would turn around the side’s fortunes on his arrival last month.
However, he has been forced to concede that Fulham might slip into the Championship after watching his team humbled by out-of-form Cardiff.
“Our chances are worse than before (to stay up),” said the former Bayern Munich manager. “We have to win our home games, that is the most important thing. The next game is a home game against Newcastle and we need three points.”
Fulham are now three points behind second-from bottom Sunderland, who have three matches in hand.
Roar power on in Australia
Brisbane Roar are virtually assured of securing the Premier’s Plate in Australia after moving 10 points clear at the top of the A-League table following a 2-1 win over Adelaide United. With five rounds of the regular season remaining, the premiership and a berth in next year’s AFC Champions League are seemingly assured for the 2010/11 and 2011/12 champions. Star striker Besart Berisha scored both goals to secure Brisbane’s 14th win of the season. “Five games to go, plus finals, winning at home – it’s a good habit to get into,” coach Mike Mulvey said afterwards.