Wigan 0-2 Southampton: Mark Hughes seals FA Cup semi-final spot in first game
Last Updated: 18/03/18 7:15pm
Mark Hughes guided Southampton into the FA Cup semi-finals in his first game in charge with a 2-0 win at Wigan on Sunday.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Cedric Soares scored their first goals for the club to seal Southampton's passage from the FA Cup quarter-finals for the first time in 15 years.
Wigan were looking to reach the last four for the third time in six seasons and the 2013 winners dominated the first half but paid for not taking their chances.
Hojbjerg hooked in a 62nd-minute corner for his first Saints goal and Manolo Gabbiadini then had a 73rd-minute penalty brilliantly saved by Christian Walton before Soares added a second in stoppage-time.
Paul Cook's men can now focus on their League One promotion push after another memorable cup run, including the scalp of Manchester City in the last round, while Hughes will hope this result can be the catalyst for a push towards Premier League safety.
Wigan: Walton (8), Byrne (7), Burn(5), Dunkley (7), Elder (6), Morsy (7), Jacobs (7), Roberts (6), Massey (7), Power (6), Grigg (6).
Subs: Hunt (5), Powell (6), Colclough (6)
Southampton: McCarthy (7), Cedric (7), Stephens (7), Hoedt (6), Bertrand (7), Hojbjerg (7), Lemina (6), Tadic (6), Boufal (6), Carrillo (5), Gabbiadini (5).
Subs: Romeu (5), Redmond (5), Long (6).
Man of the Match: Christian Walton
The visitors had the first opening when Walton dropped an 11th-minute free-kick at the feet of Guido Carrillo but the striker's lack of confidence showed as he poked the ball weakly back into the goalkeeper's arms.
Nathan Byrne gave Southampton a torrid time down the right and he sparked chaos in the Saints' defence five minutes later but his shot took a deflection and, with Chey Dunkley just unable to apply the finishing touch, the ball rolled past a post.
Gary Roberts was the next to go close, choosing an attempted lob after Jack Stephens met a long ball with a weak header when he might have been better going for power. Alex McCarthy was finally tested in the 42nd minute when a Max Power corner moved viciously in the wind and would have dipped under the bar but for a strong hand from the keeper.
Hughes was far from pleased as he walked off for half-time but it did not take long in the second period for Southampton to start to look like the higher-division side. A careless back pass from Byrne left Gabbiadini with only Walton to beat but the keeper produced a fine save to bail out his team-mate.
Paul Cook opted for Gary Roberts over Nick Powell, who was nursing a slight injury. Mark Hughes made two changes to Mauricio Pellegrino’s last team as Manolo Gabbiadini and Sofiane Boufal returned.
After Walton pushed over Hojbjerg's bullet header, Southampton capitalised on their dominance as the Latics keeper was unable to prevent the same player hooking in the resulting corner.
Dan Burn's desperate lunge to stop Gabbiadini resulted in a penalty, but having struck the ball towards the corner, Walton flung himself to his left and pushed Gabbiadini's effort away.
Wigan pushed increasingly desperately for one final chance and Noel Hunt should have tested McCarthy but could not get enough on his header. Moments later Cedric broke away before finishing confidently past Walton to book Southampton's place at Wembley.
- Southampton have reached the FA Cup semi-finals for the first time since the 2002/03 season, when they eventually lost the final to Arsenal.
- Mark Hughes has progressed from all three of his FA Cup quarter-finals as a manager (also 2004/05 and 2006/07 with Blackburn Rovers).
- Southampton won away from home by more than one goal for the first time since a 4-0 victory over Sunderland in February 2017.
- This was only Wigan's second home defeat in their last 14 matches at the DW Stadium in all competitions (W8 D4).
- Both Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (54th appearance) and Cedric Soares (88th) scored their first Southampton goals in this match.
- Saints have failed to score with four of their last seven penalties in all competitions, with two of those failed attempts taken by Manolo Gabbiadini.
Paul Cook: "I was fearful at half-time because I felt we had played that well in the first half and hadn't got enough out of the game. But I can't ask any more of the players, they've been a credit to the club. I think we've represented League One in a really good way. Now the focus is on promotion."
Mark Hughes: "This was an important fixture. Clearly our Premier League status is a huge concern to us and we want to retain that and that is a big part of the remit I have. Today was a game we could take the maximum we needed in terms of positivity and we've been able to do that."
Man of the Match - Christian Walton
Wigan goalkeeper Walton had a strong game and pushed away Gabbiadini's spot-kick with an excellent diving save as he kept the hosts in the match at 1-0.
Wigan look to maintain their promotion charge when they travel Walsall on Wednesday. Southampton, meanwhile, turn their attention to preserving their Premier League status when they travel to relegation-rivals West Ham on Saturday.