Manchester United 4 - 0 Wigan Athletic
It was a case of damage limitations in the end for Wigan as United bulldozed their way to a 4-0 win at the Millennium Stadium and ended all hopes of a fairytale ending to the Latics first major cup final.
From the kick-off it was a free-flowing game with hardly a tackle in sight, as both sides attacked at will with chances falling for each. Wigan were unlucky to lose their 'keeper, Mike Pollitt after only 14 minutes as the 33-year-old fell foul to a hamstring injury and left the field holding back the tears.
The opening goal of the final did not match the play that had preceded it, two Wigan defenders got in each other's way as the ball was flicked on from a long Edwin Van der Sar kick. The one player you don't want the ball to fall to is Wayne Rooney but that's precisely who latched onto the loose ball and slotted the ball past substitute 'keeper John Filan.
The underdogs kept the score down to one until half-time and were much the better team after the interval with Henri Camara forcing a smart save from Van der Sar just six minutes after the restart.
But you felt that they had to score while they were on top or United would punish them. They didn't and United did, Gary Neville did what he has being doing for the last decade or so and delivered a great cross on the run for Louis Saha to fumble the ball over the line to make it 2-0.
The next seven minutes were Wigan's undoing, confidence knocked and concentration lacking, United went on to score two more to make the scoreline hard on the Latics.
Cristiano Ronaldo grabbed his fifth goal in four games just before the hour-mark after another error by the Wigan defence gifted Saha the ball with the choice of putting either Ronaldo or Rooney through on goal, he chose the young Portuguese international who took his time and drilled the ball low and hard past Filan.
Man-of-the-Match Rooney tapped in his second two minutes later and should have got his hatrick but tried the difficult chip instead of the percentage low drive across goal.
But by that time United were cruising and it was just a matter of if Wigan could grab a consolation goal.
Manchester United (4-4-2): Van der Sar; Neville, Ferdinand, Brown (Vidic 83), Silvestre ( Evra 83); Ronaldo (Richardson 74), O'Shea, Giggs, Park; Rooney, Saha.
Substitutes not used: Howard, Van Nistelrooy.
Wigan Athletic (4-4-2): Pollitt (Filan 14); Chimbonda, Henchoz (McCulloch 62), De Zeeuw, Baines; Teale, Kavanagh (Ziegler 72), Scharner, Bullard; Roberts, Camara.
Substitutes not used: Jackson, Johansson.
Referee Mr A. Wiley (Burntwood).