Old boy Rosler gives Man City FA Cup deja vu
Manchester City cult hero Uwe Rosler enjoyed an unlikely winning return to the club on Sunday as his Wigan Athletic side triumphed 2-1 in an FA Cup quarter-final upset.
The Championship team, who stunned City 1-0 in last season's final, will now face Arsenal in a Wembley semi-final, having endured an anxious final 25 minutes after Samir Nasri reduced the arrears.
The pre-game consensus may have been that there was little danger of history repeating itself, but it took Wigan less than half an hour to raise that possibility at the Etihad Stadium.
City conceded an unnecessary penalty, courtesy of the latest in a series of errors from centre-back Martin Demichelis, who was beaten by Marc-Antoine Fortune and compounded the error with a blatant trip.
The home side offered little protest and Gomez, one of four survivors from last year's final in Wigan's line-up, showed impressive poise by sending goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon the wrong way from the penalty spot.
The lead was just about a deserved one for the visitors, superbly organised by their manager Rosler, the former City striker, who patrolled the touchline barking instructions.
City made six changes to the team that had won the League Cup at Wembley seven days previously, but despite the influx of fresh legs, they took their time to establish anything like their normal fluid attacking game.
Prior to Gomez's goal, City had seemed to be asserting a degree of control, with Jesus Navas particularly threatening from the right wing.
The Spaniard's cross after 23 minutes was almost inadvertently turned in by visiting defender Ivan Ramis, with Scott Carson forced into a reflex save at the foot of his post.
Sergio Aguero threatened from a similar position moments later, but these were rare moments of threat from a City side looking increasingly disgruntled as the half progressed.
Before the interval, three City players wrestled Callum McManaman to the ground as he weaved into the home half, with tempers flaring.
- Nasri gives City hope -
Matters were about to become far more serious for City with barely a minute gone in the second half as Wigan claimed a second goal that, again, owed much to laxity in the home side's defending.
City failed to react after Joleon Lescott headed out of the City area and were even slower to respond as James McArthur sent a low cross skidding across the six-yard box from the left.
Exploiting further hesitancy in the City rearguard, James Perch sped in ahead of Gael Clichy at the back post and slid the ball home to double Wigan's lead.
City manager Manuel Pellegrini must have been as stunned as the watching home supporters and he responded by making three substitutions at once, throwing on James Milner, Edin Dzeko and David Silva.
The move seemed to inject urgency into City's play, with Milner launching a spirited run into the area before drilling a low shot across goal.
After 63 minutes, Clichy almost made amends for his part in Wigan's second goal when he curled a superb cross onto the head of Dzeko, whose attempt hit the post and ricocheted to safety.
The pressure was mounting, and it finally told in the 68th minute when Nasri handed City a foothold in the tie.
Clichy's left-wing corner was headed on by Demichelis and Micah Richards for Nasri, whose low, left-foot shot from just outside the area beat the dive of the unsighted Carson.
It was the start of a frantic finale in which the traffic flowed almost relentlessly towards the Wigan goal.
An Emmerson Boyce clearance struck Aguero and almost looped into the net, the same defender cleared heroically from under his crossbar to thwart Dzeko, Carson saved smartly from Aguero, and Dzeko headed wide from Nasri's cross.
Fortune could have settled the tie in injury time, after being denied by Pantilimon from Gomez's through ball, but the miss proved irrelevant.