Wigan defeated Millwall 2-0 to reach the final of English soccer’s F.A. Cup for the first time in the club’s 81-year history.
Shaun Maloney and Callum McManaman scored at Wembley Stadium in London to send Wigan into an all-Premier League final May 11 against defending champion Chelsea or Manchester City, who play tomorrow.
“It’s a massive occasion for us today,” Maloney said in an interview with ESPN. “It will probably sink in in the next few days what lies ahead.”
Wigan, who are in the three-team relegation zone in the Premier League, took the lead in the 25th minute as Arouna Kone lofted a ball over the defense to Maloney, whose side-footed volley from 12 yards (11 meters) beat goalkeeper David Forde.
McManaman then clinched the victory with 12 minutes left after he took a pass from Jordi Gomez, went around Forde and shot into the open goal.
Wigan’s previous best finish in soccer’s oldest domestic cup competition came when it reached the quarterfinals in 1987. All five of the Latics’ victories in the F.A. Cup this season came away from home.
“It means a lot, as you can imagine,” Wigan manager Roberto Martinez told ESPN. “We had a real togetherness and feel it’s well deserved to get to the final.”
Millwall was attempting to become the first team from the second-tier Championship to get to the final since Cardiff in 2008. The Lions reached their only F.A. Cup final in 2004, where they lost 3-0 to Manchester United.
Today’s game was marred by fights that broke out among Millwall fans late in the second half. Television images showed police breaking up the trouble, which left some supporters bloodied and younger ones crying.
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