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UEFA Europa League

  • 19 September 2013
  • • 18:00
  • • Jan Breydelstadion, Brugge
  • Referee: M. Borski
  • • Attendance: 8000
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Live Commentary

  • Bye for now folks, it's been a pleasure.
  • A flurry of action late on could not hide the fact that this was hardly a match for the purists, as Zulte and WIgan largely cancel each other out. The home side were generally better throughout, and felt like they should have had a penalty for handball late on, but luck was not on their side. An unspectacular start to European life for Wigan, but not the worst result to pick up.
  • 90' + 3'
    A late cross from Conte is hacked clear desperately by the defence, and that is indeed the last act as the final whistle sounds!
  • 90' + 3'
    Wigan pump a free kick into the box that is headed clear, and that may well be that.
  • 90' + 2'
    Into the second of three added minutes.
  • 90' + 1'
    The home side are the ones going for it in the closing stages, as Carson races off his line expertly to slide the ball away from Naessens.
  • 90'
    Late drama, as Malanda makes a excellent tackle on Fortune to prevent him with a clear sight on goal, before the ball is back quickly at the other end for Conte to clip in at the near post, where Carson parries!
  • 88'
    Boos rain down from the stands as Hazard drives the ball into the danger area, which appeared to glance the arms of Shotton. Pretty inconclusive, and the referee allows play to go on.
  • 86'
    D'Haene very nearly pokes home a poorly defended corner inside the box, but McCann is on hand at the far post to make an excellent block.
  • 84'
    Time winding down here and the game is still up for the taking. The most likely result at this point looks a draw though, so don't hold your breath.
  • 83'
    SubstitutionNick Powell Nouha Dicko
  • 82'
    Powell bundles his way into the box and squares for a shot, but at the last, he looses his footing and the ball to boot.
  • 80'
    Hazard sets off on his umpteenth dribble through the middle, but the referee gets in the way, incidentally doing a much better job of stopping the midfielder than most of Wigan's lot.
  • 78'
    An abhorrent first touch from Powell sees a great Wigan break fall flat. Duplus mops up the loose ball, but he really should have been made to work much harder.
  • 76'
    GROUP D UPDATE: Finely poised as Rubin Kazan hold a 3-2 lead at Maribor.
  • 74'
    Still no sight of an opener here in Bruges, and the fans are finally getting a bit fed up at the lack of enterprise on show.
  • 73'
    SubstitutionH. Habibou Raphael Caceres
  • 72'
    Habibou will make way here, the forward was frustrated in his attempts to score, but still put in a bruising game up front.
  • 70'
    D'Haene has made his way to the sidelines for treatment after he was caught my McCann.
  • 68'
    Zulte fail to clear a corner, and it falls to Perch at the top of the box, who bends one towards the bottom corner. The keeper sees it late, but just manages to stick out a paw and push it away!
  • 66'
    SubstitutionCallum McManaman Marc-Antoine Fortune
  • 66'
    DUPLUS! A free header from Hazard's corner, but he plants it wide! That was a great chance!
  • 65'
    SubstitutionJordi Gómez Ben Watson
  • 64'
    OOOHHH...Naessens cleverly flicks a pass back to De Fauw at the top of the box, and the Zulte captain blasts an excellent volley off target!
  • 62'
    McClean has a go from 20 yards out, but it bobbles through harmlessly into the arms of Bossut.
  • 60'
    GROUP D UPDATE: Rubin Kazan lead Maribor 2-1.
  • 58'
    Yellow CardThorgan Hazard
  • 58'
    Hazard picks up yellow for yanking on Boyce's shirt. The only blot on an otherwise accomplished display so far.
  • 56'
    The game getting increasingly stretched, and a lovely ebb and flow is developing as both teams go back and forth.
  • 54'
    Shotton somehow gets his cleats onto a corner, but sees it bounce wide of the post!
  • 52'
    Habibou is quite a big fellow, standing at six foot four inches, and he uses every bit of that frame to win an aerial duel against Carson, planting a header just wide of the goal!
  • 50'
    Hazard, as ever, is the man trying to make things happen for Zulte, but he is simply surrounded by too many blue shirts to fashion an opening.
  • 48'
    Zulte pinging the ball around patiently here, probing for an opening.
  • 46'
    Here we go again!
  • A strong end to the half from the come side, who twice came close to breaking the deadlock. Wigan started well, but have found the going increasingly tough as Zulte grew into the game. No goals, but both sides have hit the woodwork, and it's all set up nicely for the second half.
  • 45' + 1'
    Half time, folks.
  • 45'
    CLOSE! McCann caught badly in possession at the top of the box, and Hazard squeezes a low shot across goal that is blocked. Conte is on it in a snap though, and sends it right back towards goal, but Carson parries!
  • 45'
    Hazard really is looking the part, a clever backheel frees him from his man and sets Habibou on his way, but he runs right into a player.
  • 44'
    A strong run from McManaman down the right from which his cross is narrowly cleared by the defence, sparking Zulte on the counter. Conte tries to pick out Habibou in the box, but Boyce gets himself in the way.
  • 44'
    A strong run from McManaman down the right from which his cross is narrowly cleared by the defence, sparking Zulte on the counter. Conte tries to pick out Habibou in the box, but Boyce gets himself in the way.
  • 42'
    After quite a delay, the corner is played right into a Wigan player on the near post. Disappointing.
  • 41'
    Yellow CardJens Naessens
  • 40'
    Zulte piling on the pressure as the first half draws to a close. The quietly impressive Hazard wins another corner.
  • 38'
    Wigan clear their lines from that scare, and McManaman goes hurtling after the ball down the right, succeeding only in uprooting the corner flag. He plants it back into the ground in frustration.
  • 37'
    Zulte work a corner short cleverly, and the ball is delivered into the six yard areas where it's deflected onto the crossbar!
  • 35'
    Zulte very nearly play their way through the congested Wigan ranks, but Perch just about manages to block the ball from reaching Habibou, who would have surely tapped it in.
  • 33'
    Habibou, not for the first time, is a bit underhand in his attempts to gain an advantage, shoving Shotton in the back. The referee spots the infraction though, and lectures the striker.
  • 31'
    Owen Coyle looks fairly dyspeptic in the dugout, barking instructions at his team before slumping back onto his seat in a soggy heap. To be fair, his side have just about shaded proceedings here.
  • 29'
    Jordi Gomez had a good chance to pull the trigger from 20 yards, but hesitated, took another dribble and tried to play in McCann, who promptly trips over himself.
  • 27'
    Something of a surreal atmosphere inside the Jan Breydelstadion. Half the ground seems empty, but the fans that are present are making quite a racket, which echoes around the vacant sections.
  • 25'
    Hazard this time cannot pick out a teammate with a corner, allowing Wigan to get rid of danger.
  • 23'
    GROUP D UPDATE: It's still goalless in the other group clash between Maribor and Rubin Kazan.
  • 21'
    A much more even contest developing here in Belgium. Both sides seem to have the measure of each other though, and goalmouth action is proving relatively rare.
  • 20'
    Powell, the Manchester United loanee, has a crack at goal, but its a hit and hope more than anything, going miles wide.
  • 18'
    Now Skulason also enters the referee's notebook for tripping up McClean. Not quite as clear a booking as McCann's moments ago, but I suppose the ref is doing his best to make things seem even, and was helped by a bit of mouthing off from the Zulte man.
  • 17'
    Yellow CardOlafur Ingi Skulason
  • 17'
    Quite a meaty challenge from McCann, who clatters right into Habibou, sending the Zulte man flying and earning himself a deserved yellow card.
  • 16'
    Yellow CardChris McCann
  • 15'
    The hosts really growing into the game, at least in respect to their poor play in the first few minutes. They have held a nice spell of possession in the opposition half.
  • 13'
    Just a few signs that Zulte actually have some intention of attacking. They win a corner on the right, but Malanda plants a header well clear of the crossbar.
  • 11'
    Jordi Gomez has a decent opening to fashion a pass or a shot from the top of the box, but cannot get his bearings and floats it out of play.
  • 9'
    McManaman is playing well early on, but perhaps on that play he held onto the ball for too long. He takes on a few players out wide before he is tripped up.
  • 7'
    Wigan looking good to start things off here. They're playing with a solid tempo, and Zulte have not gotten a grip on proceedings as of yet.
  • 5'
    MCARTHUR HITS THE POST! A corner is flicked towards the top of the boy by Boyce, and McArthur connects with a swerving volley that clips the woodwork on its way out!
  • 3'
    Straight away, McClean plows into Hazard to concede a free kick. hazard the younger, by the way, Eden's baby brother Thorgan, who is at the Belgian side on loan from Chelsea.
  • 1'
    Here we go folks.
  • It's a chilly, rainy day here in Bruges, as both teams go through the pre-match formalities on the pitch. The Jan Breydel Stadium only holds 30,000 on a good day, but there are a lot of empty seats around the ground. Glamour tie indeed.
  • WIGAN: Carson; Boyce, Shotton, Perch, Crainey; McArthur; McManaman, Jordi Gomez, McCann, McClean; Powell.
  • ZULTE: Bossut; De Fauw, D'Haene, Malanda, Duplus; O. Skulason, Kums; Conte, Hazard, Naessens; Habibou.
  • Our teams have been confirmed.
  • So Wigan's continental inexperience will be a factor tonight, but Zulte will also be wary of the Belgian Pro League's recent record against the EPL - no side from Belgium have recorded a victory against a team from England in their last eight meetings.
  • Wigan are the only side in this season's Europa League to have absolutely no experience in European competition. There are three other group stage debutantes, but they all have played previously in the qualifying rounds.
  • Wigan will kick off ther Europa League campaign against Zulte Waregem in Belgium. Join me, Keeghann Sinanan for the play-by-play.