Wigan 1 Zulte Waregem 2: Chelsea loanee Hazard on target as Latics lose late on

By John Edwards

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They are new to venturing beyond these shores, but Wigan have already been dealt a harsh lesson in the realities of European football.

Leading through Leon Barnett in only the seventh minute, they were dreaming of a place in the Europa League knock-out phase, until being pegged back by a goalkeeping blunder and finally left staring at elimination by an 88th-minute Zulte Waregem winner.

Game over: Zulte Waregem's Junior Malanda sweeps the ball past Wigan keeper Lee Nicholls to seal three points

Game over: Zulte Waregem's Junior Malanda sweeps the ball past Wigan keeper Lee Nicholls to seal three points

Matchwinner: Malanda reacts after scoring in the 88th minute

Matchwinner: Malanda reacts after scoring in the 88th minute

Unstoppable: Leon Barnett watches as his low strike finds the bottom corner to put Wigan 1-0 up

Unstoppable: Leon Barnett watches as his low strike finds the bottom corner to put Wigan 1-0 up

All smiles: Barnett celebrates his early goal with the Wigan supporters

All smiles: Barnett celebrates his early goal with the Wigan supporters

Match facts

Wigan (4-5-1): Nicholls 5, Boyce 6, Rogne 6, Barnett 7, Crainey 6, McManaman 7 (Espinoza 84), McArthur 5 (Holt 90), Gomez 5 (Fortune 64, 6), McCann 6, McClean 7, Powell 8.

Subs not used: Pollitt, Shotton, Watson, Beausejour.

Booked: Powell, McClean, McArthur

Goals: Barnett 7

Zulte-Waregem (4-5-1): Bossut 6, De Fauw 6, D'Haene 6, Colpaert 6, Duplus 7, Skulason 6 (N'Diaye 80), Malanda 6, Conte 7 (Sylla 73), Kums 7 (Caceres 90), Hazard 8, Habibou 6.

Subs not used: Bruzzese, Verboom, Godeau, Bongonda.

Booked: Skulason, Malanda

Goals: Hazard 37, Malanda 88

Ref: Ruddy Buquet

Man of the match: Nick Powell

Player ratings from John Edwards at the DW Stadium

Wigan looked set for the win that would have taken them through after Jordi Gomez hopelessly miscued a shot from Callum McManaman’s low cross but saw it turn into an assist, as Barnett swept the loose ball home.

But Zulte were back on terms after two glaring errors, first by James McArthur then by Lee Nicholls, gifted them a 37th-minute equaliser.

McArthur needlessly surrendered possession inside his own half, and when the resulting breakaway led to a rising drive from Thorgan Hazard, Nicholls looked to have it in his grasp, until it squirmed free and evaded his frantic efforts to prevent it crossing the line.

With Nick Powell and James McClean running purposefully at Zulte’s defence, Wigan still looked the likelier winners, until being caught by a late sucker punch, as Junior Malanda latched on to a lay-off by substitute Idrissa Sylla and lashed a near-post shot into the top corner.

Stunned Wigan now have to win away to Maribor in their final game and hope Zulte finish empty handed at home to group leaders Rubin Kazan.

Manager Owen Coyle insisted it was not beyond them, as he put on a brace face and said: ‘We are more than capable of doing that, though it is disappointing our fate is no longer in our own hands.

'It was cruel in the extreme after such a good performance.

On the mic: Barnett uses a TV microphone to celebrate a rare goal at the DW Stadium

On the mic: Barnett uses a TV microphone to celebrate a rare goal at the DW Stadium

Back on terms: Thorgan Hazard, brother of Chelsea attacker Eden, smashes the ball at the Wigan goal

Back on terms: Thorgan Hazard, brother of Chelsea attacker Eden, smashes the ball at the Wigan goal

Oops: Wigan keeper Lee Nicholls an't keep hold of Hazard's shot, fumbling it into his own net

Oops: Wigan keeper Lee Nicholls an't keep hold of Hazard's shot, fumbling it into his own net

Man of the Match Nick Powell covered plenty of ground, as his heat map below shows - click here for more in our brilliant match zone

Nick Powell heat map
Europa League Group D

‘Lee is a young kid with a terrific career ahead of him, and I have already told him he will play on Sunday.

'That’s the confidence we have in him, and though he is hurting, he will be stronger for it.

'If a keeper makes a mistake, there is no hiding place. I was a striker in my playing days, and I missed plenty of chances, believe me. But another would always come along, and provided I stuck one away, all those misses were forgotten.

Big mistake: Wigan defender Stephen Crainey can only watch as Hazard's shot goes in to level the scores

Big mistake: Wigan defender Stephen Crainey can only watch as Hazard's shot goes in to level the scores

Relief: Hazard (second from left) celebrates with his team-mates after seeing his effort squirm into the back of the net

Relief: Hazard (second from left) celebrates with his team-mates after seeing his effort squirm into the back of the net

Going down: Wigan midfielder Jordi Gomez (middle) attempts to keep control of the ball while sat on the pitch

Going down: Wigan midfielder Jordi Gomez (middle) attempts to keep control of the ball while sat on the pitch

‘It’s different for a keeper. When a mistake costs a goal, it’s all people remember, and that can be tough when you are only 21.

'But we have tremendous belief in him, and I know he will come again. He is a conscientious lad, and I know he will be hurting, but he will be all the better for the experience.

‘He has been absolutely outstanding since coming in for Scott Carson, and there is no question he is destined for a terrific career.

Travelling army: Zulte Waregem fans get behind their team at the DW Stadium

Travelling army: Zulte Waregem fans get behind their team at the DW Stadium

Midfield battle: Zulte Waregem's Ibrahima Conte (second from right) attempts to get away from Wigan's James McClean

Midfield battle: Zulte Waregem's Ibrahima Conte (second from right) attempts to get away from Wigan's James McClean

'We controlled the game and thoroughly deserved our lead, though it should have been two or three goals, not just the one.

'That’s what cost us. We had the chances to put the game to bed but didn’t take them.

‘They had two shots on target, the equaliser and the winner, and I am absolutely gutted for the lads after all the endeavour and quality they put in to trying to win the game.’

No way past: Wigan winger Mclean is brought down from behind by Zulte's Junior Malanda

No way past: Wigan winger Mclean is brought down from behind by Zulte's Junior Malanda

Still in it: Zulte Waregem players celebrate at the end of the match with their travelling fans

Still in it: Zulte Waregem players celebrate at the end of the match with their travelling fans

 

The comments below have not been moderated.

Coyle says "It was cruel in the extreme after a good performance" - WHAT ???, which game was he watching ? the first half an hour saw Wigan at their best after that - shocking, slow, lazy and heading the ball anywhere. We'll never see any change in play when the manager thinks that that was a "good performance", but then he probably didn't see too much of the game, his head was buried that far in the sand.

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Hazard is a great player like his brother Eden.

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We need Powell back

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looks like all of Wigan were behind their team....

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Oh dear..... How sad.... Never mind... Coyle continues to underperform as does his team as a consequence. I ask any neutral to look at the pictures above and not be amazed as to just how many empty seats there were in the ground. The only shot that shows a decent occupancy rate was in the Zulte Waregem end! I openly admit that I loathe Wigan Athletic because of what has gone on in the past but this wee, indeed very wee club is in danger of disappearing without trace in the not too distant future. Whelan and Coyle, Dumb and Dumber.......They make Ashley and Kinnear look like experts. Long may the continue their flight towards oblivion.

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Davdo42 if you come to the games please refrain from doing so! it's about time people stopped giving gomez all the flack he made two mistakes last night!!! one bad delivery and one getting tackled from behind. Now lets look at this logically Ben watson is possibly the worst corner taker we have, yet his name does not get booed or jeered as he scored a winning FA cup goal yet his mistakes are not noticed, Callum is one of the most inconsistent players a orld beater then lazy he doesnt track cause he cant be bothered leaving boyce twice the work yet he is not booed! Mcarthur was the reason they equalised the situation was under control until he came blundering in and booting it as high as he could! yet he was not jeered, then the tackle from behind it is the job of the players around him to inform him of the player closing him down! yet three players in the space of 30 seconds got tackled from behind thus showing a lack of communication and understanding

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Davido42 are we also forgetting he is only the second spanish player to score a hat trick in the premier league. and his goal against everton that sealed the game to get us to wembley and the fact he has been a great servant for wigan when called upon, It may also baffle you that jeering a footballer not only affects his mental state but that of his team mates, they are a group that following them on twitter has great banter between them and thus great friendship it would be like me laughing at your friends you would take offense and so must they! the player himself along with the team knows that the performance is not good enoughwhat they need is a lift that boost of confidence which all told is the crowds job booing serves no purpose other than for the opposition! The team knows when they have fell below expectation, we all know we are lacking purpose style and passion worst of all understanding, but if your gonna boo dont bother coming id rather have 10 than a full ground of you

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Another amazing attendance for the pie eaters Europa adventure #comeinataxi

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