Date:Sunday September 28 2008
Latics gave a totally committed team performance to win an exciting and enthralling derby over local rivals Manchester City.
Steve Bruce made two changes from the team that was victorious in midweek at Ipswich welcoming back Melchiot and Figueroa in place of Scharner and Kilbane.
The game started at frenetic pace with both sides seeking to stretch the opposition defences. Both right wingers, Valencia and Wright Phillips were stand out players.
Latics first real chance came after ten minutes when Amr Zaki found himself with space outside the penalty area on the right hand side. He curled a shot which narrowly missed the far left hand post and had City keeper Joe Hart nowhere.
Latics weren`t to be outdone however and two minutes later, Valencia blasted an unstoppable shot past Hart for the opening goal, silencing the large travelling support. City responded well and pushed forward seeking an equaliser. Wigan seemed content to sit back and soak up the pressure,with Heskey dropping back into a five man midfield superbly orchestrated by Cattermole.
The equaliser when it came was a soft goal. Wright Phillips who gave Figueroa a torrid afternoon broke down the right and was fouled by the Honduran. The free kick was floated across and the Latics defence stood transfixed as Kompany bundled the ball past Kirkland.
The City fans, some of whom prior to the game were predicting a large victory,no doubt thought that this would be the catalyst for their expensively assembled squad to take charge but they hadn`t reckoned with a team under Steve Bruce`s tutelage. Latics` tremendous teamwork and work ethic ensures that they are never overawed and with Valencia creating half chances for Zaki and Heskey , another goal was always a possibility.
When the goal came there was a whiff of controversy about it. Palacios,theatrically went down under a challenge by Garrido. Replays show that Garrido stood on his foot and that Mr Bennett made the right decision. When the furore had died down, Zaki coolly slotted the ball past Hart and Latics had regained the lead.
City once again pressed forward and shortly before half time Kirkland tipped a shot from Wright Phillips over the bar.
The second half started with no changes but shortly after the break Cattermole limped off to be replaced by Michael Brown. This change appeared to have a negative effect on Latics. City pressed forward and Cattermole who has made a tremendous start to the season was missed as the other midfielders appeared to lack leadership.
Latics were often on the back foot but looked to break with Heskey and Zaki linking well and Valencia giving a performance which once again will get him noticed at a higher level. The best chance for Latics in the early stages of the second half however, fell to Bramble who looked dangerous at every set piece when he narrowly headed wide of the City goal.
For City, both Ireland and Elano had good chances to equalise and Latics continued to counter attack looking for the third goal to seal the victory, Zaki heading just wide from another good ball from Valencia.
Zaki`s work rate was tremendous and he was given a real work over by an over zealous City defence and its testimony to his toughness that he kept going.
Robinho, who has been the subject of many newspaper columns was comprehensibly contained today by another committed defensive display from Bramble and Boyce and when they were beaten, Chris Kirkland further enhanced his England credentials with a tremendous performance
The final whistle was greeted by a tremendous roar from the incredibly vocal Latic`s fans that have impressed Zaki so much since his arrival. He responded today, by going to all three sides of the ground containing Latics fans, acknowledging their support.
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Date:Sunday September 28 2008
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