Mark Hughes' first act as Southampton manager was to guide the Saints to their first FA Cup semi final since 2003, as Wigan's incredible run finally came to an end.

By 90Min
March 18, 2018

Mark Hughes' first act as Southampton manager was to guide the Saints to their first FA Cup semi final since 2003, as Wigan's incredible run finally came to an end.

Nick Powell missed out on a starting place for Wigan due to a hamstring complaint, so Gary Roberts played on his 34th birthday. Hughes made two changes to Mauricio Pellegrino's final lineup, with Sofiane Boufal and Manolo Gabbiadini replacing James Ward-Prowse and Nathan Redmond.

The League One side began in enterprising fashion and nearly took the lead when Nathan Byrne shot through a crowd of players, and the ball inched agonizingly past the post with Chey Dunkley a toe-end away from making decisive contact.

Another big chance went begging when Gavin Massey's cross towards Will Grigg was cleared into the path of Roberts, who really should have done better as he lofted his shot harmlessly over Alex McCarthy's crossbar.

The hosts were playing some brilliant football at times. Roberts, Grigg and Michael Jacobs linked up beautifully in the box but couldn't quite find the angle to shoot. Jacobs then took on a shot when he should have slipped in Massey for a simple finish.

Wigan's 9th corner of the game caught the wind and McCarthy had to be on his toes to keep it out. Dunkley got on the end of a Massey cross but his downward header just eluded Grigg. Jacobs then flashed in another cross which Grigg should have anticipated better, before the half time whistle gave Southampton some much-needed respite.

Wigan's shot accuracy remained wayward after the interval, with Jacobs and Massey both failing to hit the target with early second half chances. Boufal curled a free kick onto the roof of the Latics net as Southampton started to show signs of life.

The Saints were then presented with a golden opportunity to take the lead. Byrne played a blind backpass straight to Gabbiadini, but Christian Walton did brilliantly to spread himself and deny the Italian the opening goal.

Walton was called into action again as Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg powered a header from a corner and the young keeper did well to push over. But it was to no avail as the resulting corner was whipped in by Dusan Tadic and Hojbjerg was there again to score his first Southampton goal.

Paul Cook reacted by bringing on Powell and Ryan Colclough for Massey and Roberts, but Southampton's new-found resilience kept Wigan at bay. They were then given the chance to put the game to bed when Gabbiadini went clear on goal and was brought down by Dan Burn. 

Gabbiadini stepped up to take the penalty himself and got plenty of power behind it, but Walton guessed right and made an outstanding stop to keep Wigan in the cup tie. Walton's save gave his team renewed hope but, as in the first half, the ball just wouldn't fall for them.

Southampton showed their Premier League experience as they finally killed the game off in injury time. Cedric Soares headed the ball past Byrne and then won the race before finishing nicely past Walton.

It confirmed that Wigan would not be going to the FA Cup semi finals for third time in six years, but three wins against top-flight opposition means that this cup run will live long in the memory.

You May Like

Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)