x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Manchester City's cup dreams go up in smoke at cafe

Sombre mood among Man City fans after their team loses to Wigan Athletic in England's FA Cup final.

ABU DHABI // The mood was sombre among Manchester City fans after their team's shock defeat to Wigan Athletic yesterday in the FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium.

Roberto Martinez's side, who were making their first appearance in an FA Cup final, beat Manchester City 1-0 to stun City's many UAE supporters.

Substitute Ben Watson had been on the field for nine minutes when his 90th-minute header gave relegation threatened Wigan a deserved victory over hot favourites City.

Their was disappointment all over the capital and in particular at the La Casa cafe near Khalidiya Park.

"City's performance pretty much summed up our season this year," said Emirati City fan Khalid Al Jarman, 26, of Abu Dhabi.

"They have been creating multiple chances but lacking the cutting edge to score their final goal."

He said the strikers were not scoring enough goals or were strong enough in the penalty area for the opposing team.

"I give full credit to Wigan for they have put in an outstanding performance and proved they were worthy of staying in the Premier League," he said.

Mr Al Jarman said he had hoped there would be a repeat of their outstanding performances in 2011 and 2012 when they played like "true champions".

"I now look forward to the next season," he said.

Under manager Roberto Mancini, City ended a trophy drought in 2011 that stretched back to 1976 when they won the FA Cup. They followed it up with the Premier League title a year later.

City had won 10 of their past 11 cup matches and had beaten Wigan in their past seven Premier League matches. These included a 2-0 victory at the DW Stadium last November and a hard-fought 1-0 win at the Etihad Stadium in April.

Another Emirati City fan, Amro Mohammed Al Suwaidi, 27, had predicted a tough game against Wigan.

"I always have a winning mentality," he said before the game. "I believe in what they are capable of but it is going to be a difficult match."

He was a City fan before the club was taken over by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, Minister of Presidential Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister and had designed a kandura in the trademark sky blue of the club.

Mr Al Suwaidi, who had to watch the final while working in his office, said City was still the best team but he acknowledged that Wigan were the better team on the day and deserved to lift the cup.

About 50 members of the Abu Dhabi Blues supporters' club had gathered at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club to cheer for City.

"We've got the best team but lost to a goal from the second best team," said the supporters club's founder, Darren Ball. "Otherwise, we had a great atmosphere today."

rruiz@thenational.ae