Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Cedric Soares’s first Southampton goals saw Saints beat Wigan two-nil this afternoon, with Mark Hughes’ first game in charge resulting in a Wembley semi-final.
Manolo Gabbiadini had a penalty well saved by Christian Walton,diving down to his left and palming the ball past the post despite the ball being hit true by the Italian.
Saints responded well following a poor first half, and were comfortably the better team after being under the cosh for the first 45. Saints were unable to get a foot on the ball and struggled to find either of their two strikers.
Guido Carillo had a tame shot comfortably saved 12 minutes in, with Walton saving comfortably following a spilled set piece.
Nathan Byrne beat Ryan Bertrand for pace and found Will Grigg in the box moments later, his shot hitting Jack Stephens and going behind for a corner.
Seconds later Byrne was threatening again, with his deflected shot almost finding Cheyenee Dunkley in the box.
Mario Lemina spurned Saints’ best first half chance, with the Gambon attempting to curl an effort into the top corner from inside the box, but missing by some distance.
Stephens gifted Gary Roberts with a chance twenty minutes into the tie, half clearing a header to the former Portsmouth player. Luckily, the Wigan man could not control it and he can only stab it over the bar 10 yards from goal.
Cedric made an important block 36 minutes in, with Wigan working the ball down the right and knocking the ball around brilliantly in the Southampton box. Jacobs then had a great chance to slip in Massey, but failed to look up and find his teammate after driving at the Saints’ defence.
Wigan nearly took the lead just before half time, with Michael Jacobs flying down the left wing and swinging a cross in which nearly found Grigg in the box.
Saints started the second half much better with Gabbiadini having a shot on the turn well blocked and Sofiane Boufal working Walton with a teasing cross.
Jacobs’ 52nd minute effort was close to finding the opener, but the Latic couldn’t put the necessary whip on the ball following yet another Wigan corner. Massey then went close, driving at Bertrand and dragging his shot just wide of Alex McCarthy’s goal.
Saints were starting to grow into the game, with Boufal showing his class on the ball but wasting a free kick 55 minutes in.
Gabbiadini should have scored moments later, with Byrne passing the ball to to the Italian who was one on one with Walton. The Italian had to score, but Walton somehow denied the Saints striker.
The visitors upped the ante on the hour mark, with Dusan Tadic combining well with Cedric down the right. Saints were able to make the pressure count with Hojbjerg stroking Tadic’s corner home to put his side ahead.
Watson made a terrific penalty save with twenty minutes to go, throwing himself to his left. Gabbiadini hit the shot with plenty of power but found the goalkeeper in top form. Sub Nathan Redmond found Gabbiadini’s run brilliantly, who was brought down by Dan Burn with referee Michael Oliver showing no hesitation in awarding the spot kick.
Wigan nearly responded through Nick Powell, who went close to meeting a corner but was unable to stretch enough to make the connection. The former Man Utd man then put in a peach of a cross that was swiped away by Stephens.
Wesley Hoedt made sure of the win, heading Noel Hunt’s effort behind with Southampton finishing Wigan off seconds later.
Cedric rounded off the win in extra time, slotting home from close range after breaking from Southampton’s box. Redmond took the ball up the field and found his right back brilliantly, who nodded the ball past Walton and calmly finished.
After the game Bertrand spoke of commitment and intensity, and there were encouraging signs of improvement despite a poor first half.
A vital win in his first game, Mark Hughes will hope that the win - and a trip to Wembley - will install confidence in his side ahead of the run in. With West Ham up next, Southampton face eight cup finals in order to preserve their Premier League status.
Wigan: Walton; Byrne (Hunt 80), Dunkley, Burn, Elder; Power, Morsy (c), Massey (Colclough 65), Roberts (Powell 65); Jacobs, Grigg.
Subs: Perkins, Bruce, Jones, Hunt, Powell, Colclough, Fulton.
Saints: McCarthy; Soares, Stephens, Hoedt, Bertrand (c); Højbjerg, Lemina; Tadic, Boufal (Redmond 65); Carrillo (Long 81), Gabbiadini (Romeu 87).
Subs: Forster, Yoshida, Romeu, Ward-Prowse, Redmond, Sims, Long.