The Latics were made to pay for repeated miss chances, as they crashed out of the Capital One Cup on penalties to League Two side Bradford City on Tuesday night.
After a goalless 120 minutes, Shaun Maloney fired over from the spot, and Jordi Gomez’s tame effort was saved by Matt Duke, as the Bantams clinically disposed all four of their kicks from twelve yards.
It was a frustrating night for the Latics as the dominated much of the game but were unable to find any real penetration, at a rain swept DW stadium.
Manager Roberto Martinez ran the changes with only Ivan Ramis (who captained the team) and Ali Al Habsi retaining their places after the weekend’s win against West Ham. Ben Watson played in an unfamiliar centre half role alongside Ramis, and Adrian Lopez.
Ramis looked to have given the Latics the lead early into the game put his header was ruled out for offside from Gomez’s free kick.
Gomez was at the heart of everything that was good with the Latics play and went close on two separate occasions.
As the game wore on the Latics were unable to break down a stubborn visiting backline, with the midfield unable to stamp their usual authority on the game. As a result clear cut chances for both front men Mauro Boselli and Callum McManaman.
The Argentine ensured a frustration evening as he was unable to create anything of real note throughout.
Boosted by a 5,000 strong following Bradford carved out their only clear cut chance with 15 mins left of normal time when former West Ham player Zavon Hines broke free, only to be denied smartly by Al Habsi.
Late on first team regular Jean Beasejour and Maloney brought about some much needed composure to the Latics forward play.
They should have sealed a place in the final eight deep into extra time when Gomez missed when he was through on goal with only Duke to beat.
|Franco Di Santo|
The miss summed up the evening for Martinez men who despite controlling the tie never looked as if they were going to actually win and the defeat will be hard to take for fans who saw the competition as a genuine chance of progress.
Elsewhere there was good news for Franco Di Santo who managed a surprise call up to Argentina’s friendly squad against Saudi Arabia in November, he will line up in a forward line boasting the likes of Carlos Tevez, Higuain and of course Lionel Messi.
Up next is a trip to Tottenham on Saturday and a start of a tough period, which includes Liverpool, Manchester City and inform West Brom. Martinez will look to pick his players up as they aim for all three points.