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Football: Kone brace lifts Wigan out of relegation zone

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Ivory Coast striker Arouna Kone bagged a brace as Wigan climbed out of the relegation zone with a vital 3-0 win at fellow strugglers Reading on Saturday.

Roberto Martinez's side took control of the crucial relegation showdown with two goals from Kone just before half-time, Maynor Figueroa netting the third immediately after the interval.

Any hopes of a Reading fightback were ended when Russian forward Pavel Pogrebnyak was sent off soon after Figueroa's strike and Wigan easily held on for only their second win in 14 Premier League matches.

While Wigan look capable of another great escape from relegation, Reading slipped to second bottom after their third successive defeat in all competitions.

It looked like a long day for Reading right from the start as goalkeeper Adam Federici was called into action after just four minutes when Franco Di Santo fired goalwards.

Reading wasted their best chance of the half moments later when an unmarked Hope Akpan headed over Jem Karacan's cross from six yards.

And Wigan made them pay for that miss in the 44th minute. Gary Caldwell was completely unchecked from a corner and while he made a hash of the chance, the ball bounced to Figueroa whose shot was going in before taking a deflection off Kone's back near the line.

Kone knew little about his opener but his second was a goal to remember.

After Sean Morrison lost the ball Jean Beausejour delivered a defence-splitting run to find Kone's run. The striker still had the onrushing Federici to beat but nervelessly chipped his shot over him and into the net.

McDermott responded by bringing top-scorer Adam Le Fondre on at the break, but the game was beyond such heroics within 10 minutes of his introduction.

Figueroa made it 3-0 in the 48th minute as he was allowed to exchange passes with Di Santo and, with no defender around, fire his shot through the legs of Federici.

There was yet more punishment waiting for Reading, however, as Pogrebnyak was given his marching orders.

The striker recklessly challenged Figueroa as he burst forward, stamping down on the defender's ankle, to prompt a straight red from referee Phil Dowd.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130223/football-kone-brace-lifts-wigan-out-relegation-zone