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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 January 2006, 21:53 GMT
Wigan 1-0 Arsenal
Wigan's Paul Scharner celebrates scoring the only goal of the game
Paul Scharner scored on his debut to earn Wigan victory in the first leg of their Carling Cup semi-final against Arsenal at the JJB Stadium.

Scharner came off the bench and climbed highest to head home a Gary Teale cross 12 minutes from time.

Wigan deserved their victory against a weakened and lifeless Arsenal side, who only threatened with an early Freddie Ljungberg shot that flew over the bar.

The game was briefly delayed after the break due to a floodlight failure.

It was a muted atmosphere at the JJB Stadium in front of just 12,181 - the lowest attendance in a League Cup semi-final since Stockport hosted Middlesbrough in February 1997.

Despite the disappointing nature of the contest it started openly, the energetic Jimmy Bullard seeing an early goal-bound shot blocked by Johan Djourou.

But Ljungberg had a golden opportunity moments later, typically bursting into the box only to send a left-foot shot over the crossbar.

Wigan's hopes suffered an early blow when David Connolly limped off with a hamstring problem and he was followed just after the half-hour mark by Lee McCulloch, in similar discomfort with a groin injury.

Graham Kavanagh went close in between when his curling free-kick forced a sprawling save, low to his right, from Arsenal stopper Manuel Almunia.

Jason Roberts and Philippe Senderos were having a titanic tussle as the teams fought tooth-and-nail for every ball, but there was a distinct lack of quality as several passes went astray.

Roberts was getting the better of the young Swiss defender, but the supply to the strikers for both teams was poor and clear-cut chances were at a premium.

Wigan's Jason Roberts (left) tussles with Arsenal's Philippe Senderos
Wigan's Jason Roberts (left) tussles with Arsenal's Philippe Senderos

There were 53 minutes on the clock when the floodlights went out and plunged the ground into darkness, caused by a power failure in the town.

The delay lasted around 15 minutes and when the players came back out Wigan seemed revitalised, ploughing forward in the hope of gaining a crucial goal.

Cygan cleared as Roberts burst into the area and then Arjan de Zeeuw had a header cleared off the line from a corner.

But moments later Teale found time and space down the right and with a looping centre he found Scharner, who rose high to power a header downwards and into the net past Almunia.

Wigan: Pollitt, Chimbonda, De Zeeuw, Henchoz, McMillan, Teale, Bullard, Kavanagh, McCulloch (Scharner 33), Roberts, Connolly (Johansson 22).
Subs Not Used: Filan, Jackson, Francis.

Booked: Henchoz.

Goals: Scharner 78.

Arsenal: Almunia, Gilbert (Larsson 75), Senderos, Djourou, Cygan, Ljungberg, Flamini, Silva, Hleb, Owusu-Abeyie (Lupoli 72), Reyes (Fabregas 72).
Subs Not Used: Poom, Bendtner.

Att: 12,181.

Ref: H Webb (S Yorkshire).


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