Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola cut a defiant figure after his side’s hopes of an unprecedented quadruple were destroyed as League One Wigan produced a spectacular FA Cup upset.
Wigan survived near-constant pressure, even after City were reduced to 10 men following Fabian Delph’s sending off on the stroke of half-time, but their defensive stoicism laid the foundations for Will Grigg’s late winner – his seventh goal in this year’s competition.
The final whistle sparked scenes of wild celebration and a pitch invasion as the Latics, who will play Southampton in the last eight, evoked memories of their FA Cup final triumph over City in 2013.
Guardiola was reluctant to discuss Delph’s red card or an apparent dispute with Wigan counterpart Paul Cook at half-time, while tensions rose in the stands too as a section of City supporters clashed with security staff and police. Sergio Aguero, meanwhile, seemingly became embroiled in an altercation with a home fan, which could lead to scrutiny by the Football Association.
“It was like a final,” said Guardiola. “They had one shot on target. I don’t have regrets with the way we played, the performance, the heart. I judge my players on intentions, not results, and the intentions were good.
“We did absolutely everything, we made a mistake. Okay, we accept the defeat. Wigan won, congratulations to them and now we rest and prepare for the League Cup final [against Arsenal on Sunday].”
Wigan were no shrinking violets against their more illustrious north-west rivals and started brightly as Grigg flashed an 11th-minute effort into the side-netting.
Aguero was thwarted by Wigan goalkeeper Christian Walton moments before Delph was shown a straight red card by referee Anthony Taylor following a challenge on Max Power.
Despite that setback, City still enjoyed 83 per cent possession during the match but failed to find a way past a stubborn Wigan and were made to pay. The home side’s winner came 11 minutes from time as Grigg pounced on a defensive lapse from Kyle Walker and manoeuvred the ball away from the retreating full-back before curling a low effort beyond goalkeeper Claudio Bravo.
The visitors pressed in increasingly desperate fashion in the latter stages but were denied, at times, by a series of frantic blocks as Wigan became only the third side this season to prevent City from scoring.