Soccer / England / Lowly Wigan Reaches Its First FA Cup Final

Send in e-mailSend in e-mail

Wigan Athletic ended the dreams of Millwall as they it won its FA Cup semifinal 2-0 Saturday at Wembley Stadium. Goals from Shaun Maloney and Callum McManaman sealed victory for the Premier League side, which will take on either Manchester City or Chelsea in its first-ever FA Cup final.

A section of Millwall fans threw objects at the police and fought each other in the stands, a throwback to the 1980s, when hooliganism was a common sight at English grounds.

“It’s a dream come true,” Wigan defender Emmerson Boyce said. “For the chairman [Dave Whelan] it’s been a long time waiting, the manager’s been excellent, and now we’re in the final. We’re happy we got the result, and we’ll look forward to the final.”

Veteran striker Paul Scharner played in the League Cup final for Wigan in 2006 and was even more delighted to have made it through to an FA Cup final. “It’s unbelievable,” Scharner said. “I think the chairman deserves the credit and the fans. It was difficult in the second half, they were chasing the equalizer, but we kept the clean sheet, and I am so happy we’re in the final.”

Wigan was always the favorite against the Championship side, and Maloney eased any pre-match nerves when he put it ahead with a fine finish after 25 minutes after a good cross from Arouna Kone. With 12 minutes left McManaman scored the crucial second goal.

Manchester City and Chelsea clash Sunday in the second semifinal.

In the Premier League, Arsenal scored three late goals as it came from behind to beat Norwich City 3-1 and move up to third in the table. Mikel Arteta, Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski were on target as Arsenal leapfrogged Chelsea and Tottenham to boost its hopes of securing a Champions League spot.

Manchester United can extends its lead to 15 points if it wins at Stoke City on Sunday.

Wigan Athletic's Callum McManaman (C) celebrates his goal against Millwall with Shaun Maloney (2nd L) and Jordi Gomez during their FA Cup semi-final soccer match at Wembley Stadium in London, April 13Credit: Reuters