On this day in 2013: Underdogs Wigan stun Manchester City to win FA Cup final

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Wigan pulled off one of the biggest shocks in FA Cup history on this day in 2013 when Ben Watson headed them to an unlikely final victory over Manchester City at Wembley.

The injury-hit Latics, who were embroiled in a fight for their Premier League lives as they headed for the capital, were given little chance of getting the better of big-spending City after beating Bournemouth, Macclesfield, Huddersfield, Everton and Millwall to earn their chance of glory.

However, manager Roberto Martinez, who had spent the days leading up to the final at the centre of speculation that he would replace Manchester United-bound David Moyes at Everton – he ultimately did so on June 5 – insisted there were precedents.

Wigan’s Ben Watson (second left) heads home the wining goal against Manchester City
Wigan’s Ben Watson (second left) heads home the wining goal against Manchester City Dave Thompson/PA)

Martinez said: “We all know Manchester City are the major favourites, and rightly so. But there are many examples of major upsets in the past. It can happen, but we will have to be perfect.”

In the event, it proved a perfect afternoon for Wigan’s on-loan Atletico Madrid keeper Joel Robles, who saved from Yaya Toure, Sergio Aguero, Samir Nasri and most notably denied Carlos Tevez with his legs to keep Roberto Mancini’s City at bay.

Having weathered a storm, the underdogs went close when Shaun Maloney’s free-kick hit the bar, and they gained fresh impetus six minutes from time when defender Pablo Zabaleta was sent off for a second bookable offence.

The decisive moment came in the final minute of normal time when Watson met Maloney’s corner at the near post and glanced a header over the helpless Joe Hart.

For Wigan chairman Dave Whelan, who had famously broken his leg while playing for Blackburn in the 1960 final, victory did not come as a total surprise having been given an apparent taste of what was to come in a dream several weeks earlier.

The 76-year-old, who led the team out, said afterwards: “I did predict all this, and it was a fantastic dream. It was a lovely dream that night, and it’s come true.”

Three days after winning the FA Cup for the first time, the Latics were relegated from the Premier League when a 4-1 defeat at Arsenal ended their eight-year stay.

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