April 14, 2014 2:07:58 am
Arsenal avoided FA Cup embarrassment against second-tier club Wigan on Saturday, coming from behind against the holder and winning a penalty shootout to reach the final where the London club will be looking to end a nine-year trophy drought.
After extra time ended 1-1, Arsenal’s players scored all of their penalties and Lukasz Fabianski made two vital saves in a 4-2 shootout victory over Wigan.
Wigan went in front in regular time from the penalty spot at Wembley Stadium. Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker conceded the spot kick that Jordi Gomez converted but the German made amends by heading in the equaliser that sent the game into extra time.
A year after winning its first major trophy by beating Manchester City and then again in this year’s semifinals, Wigan couldn’t produce another upset against a Premier League power — much to Arsene Wenger’s relief.
With the second half of his 18-year reign defined by the lack of silverware, Wenger desperately needs to collect a first trophy since the 2005 FA Cup success when Arsenal returns to Wembley for the final on May 17 where they will face Hull City.
Hull reached the FA Cup final for the first time in its 110-year history as the Premier League side twice came from behind to beat third-tier club Sheffield United 5-3 in a lively encounter at Wembley on Sunday.
Steve Bruce’s team will need to improve vastly on its first-half performance in order to win the club’s first major trophy, though, as United — which won the last of its four FA Cups in 1925 and last played in the Premier League in the 2007 — twice led at the national stadium.
But Hull were transformed after halftime, with Matty Fryatt restoring parity at 2-2 before Tom Huddlestone and Stephen Quinn gave the northeast team what appeared to be a comfortable cushion. Even though Jamie Murphy pulled a late goal back for United, David Meyler quickly responded to secure Hull’s first trip to a major final.
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