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Saturday, March 9, 2013
Wigan ousts Everton 3-0 in quarterfinal

Press Association

Wigan made history by reaching an FA Cup semifinal for the first time after three goals in a devastating four-minute spell saw it beat an abject Everton at Goodison Park.

Maynor Figueroa, Callum McManaman and Jordi Gomez scored within just 202 seconds of each other in the first half to demolish last year's semifinalits' hope of a return to Wembley.

"It is a dream come true," McManaman, who came through Everton's youth system, told ITV1. "I am made up to get through, I am just over the moon. I can't really remember my goal; I am just made up it went in, it is unbelievable and it will be a dream to play at Wembley."

Strangely for Everton, it failed to produce anything like the expected response and exited the cup with a whimper -- much to the disgust of an angry home crowd.

Somewhat oddly for this stage of competition, the FA Cup is not something either manager had considered a priority.

Gomez said he hopes the win can be a springboard to help Wigan finish the Premier League season by avoiding relegation.

"It was brilliant," Gomez said. "It was difficult coming to this stadium but we got a brilliant result and everyone is very happy and we can enjoy this and go to Wembley. It will be a special occasion for the players and everyone working at the club. Hopefully we can enjoy it and play like we did today in the league and finish the season well."

Toffees boss David Moyes said he would rather secure Champions League football than a place in the final while Roberto Martinez insisted he would not allow the FA Cup to deflect attention from the fight for Premier League survival.

Now the Spaniard, who has fielded weakened teams in cup competitions throughout his reign at the DW Stadium, has to seriously consider the best way forward.

"It is a proud moment, the performance was outstanding, from the keeper all the way through," Martinez said. "It is incredible. To come here, score three goals and keep a clean sheet is excellent."

Everton turned in arguably its worst performance of the season and the hosts were roundly booed at halftime and full time, while some supporters even left the ground after Wigan's third goal.

But Martinez preferred to focus on his own side's display.

"We deserve some credit," Martinez said. "We stopped them being dangerous. They are a team with understanding and experience and an expectation from their crowd -- and we handled that well. We knew when to keep the ball and when to go forward. We deserve credit for stopping Everton playing that fluent football they like."

There are also plenty of questions for Moyes, who will mark his 11th anniversary at the club next week still not having won silverware.

With his contract up at the end of the season and a top-four finish by no means guaranteed, the Scot has a significant personal decision to make.

Of more pressing concern, considering he values Champions League football so highly, is how Wigan -- who had beaten only two of its past 10 top-flight opponents in the FA Cup since 1987 and is battling relegation -- could score and win so easily.

Everton had created the first chance with Sylvain Distin heading wide but from then it was almost one-way traffic as Shaun Maloney, who caused the hosts numerous problems with his movement in from the left, curled a shot past Jan Mucha but back off the post.

The hosts' only other real chance of the first half fell to Nikica Jelavic, without a goal in two months, but his low effort was palmed away by Joel Robles.

Then the madness began as Wigan incredibly put the game beyond their opponents in the space of less than four minutes.

Mucha, making his FA Cup debut and only his ninth appearance in two and a half years at the club with Tim Howard sidelined by broken bones in his back, passed his first real test by turning James McCarthy's shot behind.

However, from Gomez's 31st-minute corner the Slovakian got himself in a tangle inside the six-yard box and Figueroa powered home a far-post header.

If Everton looked stunned by that what followed in barely a matter of seconds left them staggered and virtually out for the count.

Huyton-born McManaman, released by Everton as a 16-year-old, outsprinted Distin to expertly clip a shot past Mucha.

The 21-year-old would probably have preferred to have scored at the Gwladys Street end, where he used to stand as a young season ticket holder, but a goal at Goodison Park was still special.

Members of his family, all Scousers but among the away fans, must have not known where to put themselves.

But while they were all still celebrating that goal Wigan made it 3-0 as Gomez fired home from 20 yards.

The goal was greeted by loud boos from the majority of the fans, who having been told Wigan would field a weakened side -- it made four changes to the team that Liverpool thrashed 4-0 last weekend -- saw their own dreams of a Wembley return collapsing in front of their eyes.

McManaman would have been desperately disappointed to be forced off by injury after a clash with Leighton Baines, but he departed six minutes from the interval to be replaced by Ryo Miyaichi.

The change did little to affect the visitors' momentum though and Mucha had to be at full-stretch to tip over Maloney's curling, dipping free kick.

It is safe to assume the Everton dressing room would not have been a pleasant place during halftime with Moyes most certainly unhappy with the lack of fight his side had shown.

Phil Neville was removed to allow Victor Anichebe to partner Jelavic up front but it was the previously quiet Marouane Fellaini who was first to show, volleying wide early in the second half.

Although the performance improved, the hosts rarely threatened and when substitute Ross Barkley blazed wide late on it ended any fanciful hopes of a dramatic comeback.




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