Swansea fightback leaves Wigan facing drop

LONDON (AFP) - Wigan Athletic face an uphill battle to avoid relegation from the Premier League after twice relinquishing the lead in an agonising 3-2 loss at home to Swansea City on Tuesday.

Wigan, who tackle Manchester City in the FA Cup final on Saturday, could have moved out of the bottom three with victory, but instead they find themselves three points from safety with only two games to play.

After the Wembley clash with City, who warmed up with a 1-0 win at home to West Bromwich Albion, Roberto Martinez's side visit fourth-place Arsenal before hosting Aston Villa on the season's final day.

Wigan have pulled off several improbable escapes from relegation in recent seasons and manager Martinez vowed that his players would not give up.

"It's a missed opportunity. Obviously, we were playing at home," he told Sky Sports.

"The injuries we've picked up recently have been very costly, but we've got incredible character and we're determined to fight for every point that is left." Wigan began the game in purposeful fashion at the DW Stadium and made the breakthrough in first-half injury time.

Swansea goalkeeper Michel Vorm did not get enough distance on a punch and from the edge of the box, Roger Espinoza arrowed a left-foot volley into the bottom-left corner for his first Wigan goal.

Martinez celebrated jubilantly, but Angel Rangel brought Wigan down to earth early in the second half when he met Wayne Routledge's cross with a crisp volley that found the net via the left-hand upright.

The hosts re-established their lead within three minutes, James McCarthy bursting through and beating Vorm with a low shot, and James McArthur then failed to make telling contact with an inviting cross from Arouna Kone.

It was to prove a costly miss as, in the 59th minute, Swansea equalised again.

Recalled Wigan captain Gary Caldwell gave the ball away to Leon Britton and from his pass, on-loan Kaiserslautern striker Itay Shechter beat Joel Robles with the aid of a deflection off Emmerson Boyce.

Eager to atone, Caldwell saw a thumping header brilliantly touched over the bar by Vorm, before an exhibition of panicked defending allowed Swansea to claim the winner.

McArthur and Shaun Maloney got in a muddle as they tried to clear a Pablo Hernandez cross and Dwight Tiendalli pounced to slide a shot past the exposed Robles.

An injury to Vorm, who had to be stretchered off after a clash of heads with team-mate Ben Davies, yielded nine minutes of stoppage time, but an injury to Ronnie Stam left Wigan with 10 men and Swansea managed to hold on.

At the Etihad Stadium, Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini made eight changes to the team that drew 0-0 at Swansea on Saturday, but saw his side prevail thanks to a 35th-minute volley from Edin Dzeko.

The Bosnian striker expertly dispatched a cross from the tireless Carlos Tevez to give the deposed champions a seven-point cushion over third-place Chelsea and secure a berth in next season's Champions League.

"It was a difficult game because we changed a lot of players, but it was important for us to win the game," said Mancini.

"After 10 minutes we started to play better and we missed five incredible chances to score, which made it difficult for us in the second half." FA Cup winners in 2011 and league champions last year, City will be bidding to win their third major title in three seasons when they tackle FA Cup final debutants Wigan at the national stadium on Saturday.

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