Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 25 November 2014

Martinez rues late free-kick

Roberto Martinez's Wigan would have moved out of the relegation zone had they won
Roberto Martinez's Wigan would have moved out of the relegation zone had they won

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez claimed his "magnificent" team had been denied victory against Tottenham by a wrongly-awarded free-kick.

The 18th-placed Latics, who would have moved out of the Barclays Premier League relegation zone had they hung on for all three points, instead had to settle for a 2-2 draw with Spurs at the DW Stadium after the ball bobbled off the unfortunate Emmerson Boyce into his own net in the 90th minute.

It had hit Boyce from a Tom Huddlestone free-kick that resulted from a coming-together between Spurs full-back Kyle Walker and his opposite number Jean Beausejour, and Martinez said: "If you see the replays, it puts extra salt in the wounds. It was not a free-kick - it should never have been a free-kick."

He added: "Kyle Walker is pulling Jean Beausejour and he is too honest, staying on his feet. We need to accept that - sometimes when you are down there, the results or the lucky breaks don't go your way."

Despite his disappointment at the way it finished, Martinez was keen to praise his players' efforts during a contest in which an early defensive blunder by the hosts had allowed Champions League-chasing Tottenham to open the scoring.

A hesitant exchange of passes between Latics defender Maynor Figueroa and goalkeeper Joel Robles in the ninth minute led to the latter cannoning an attempted clearance against the outstretched leg of the approaching Gareth Bale, and the ball rebounded straight into the net.

Wigan equalised within two minutes through a header from Boyce, whose late own-goal subsequently cancelled out the Callum McManaman thunderbolt that had put them 2-1 up four minutes into the second half.

Tottenham remain fifth with four matches to go, level on points with fourth-placed Chelsea and a point behind third-placed Arsenal. Sunday's fixtures see Chelsea play Swansea at home and Arsenal host champions Manchester United.

Asked whether he regarded the result as two points dropped or a point gained in the pursuit of Champions League football, Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas said: "It depends on the results of our opponents. It is intimately related to that.

"We can still be in control of our own destiny or not after [Sunday's] results. Normally away from home a point is important at this stage of the season. When everybody needs three points, I think it is a difficult situation for teams. It all depends on what happens [on Sunday]."

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