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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

FA Cup Fifth round replay, Reading 2-3 Manchester United

Match Full Report and Highlights.

Reading were the width of a crossbar away from completing one of the finest comebacks in FA Cup history at the Madejski Stadium as they went down 3-2 to Manchester United. Reading boss Steve Coppell began the game with an aggressive looking forward line of three including Irish international Kevin Doyle, making his first start in over a month after overcoming a hamstring injury.

With just a minute gone Reading's boss was considering a rethink as Gabriel Heinze put United into the lead inside two minutes. Few minutes later it was far too simple for Saha to dartbetween De la Cruz and Bikey before finishing with an excellent shot. The Frenchman has been downgraded since Henrik Larsson arrived, but the latter will be going back to Sweden in a couple of weeks and the dynamism of Saha at the Madejski Stadium wasencouraging for United as they contemplate the run-in to the Premiership. Sir Alex Ferguson had another jolt of satisfaction here in the sixth minute. Richardson slung the ball to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on the right and the craftsman finisher squeezed a shot just inside the far post.

The three goals sparked Reading into life and they gave themselves a spirited chance when Ivar Ingimarsson headed a John Oster corner into Dave Kitson who nodded home at the far post.
With their lead cut Manchester United then retreated further and further into their shells allowing a rejuvenated Reading to take the game to them and even though the second half struggled to match the spellbinding opening of the first the number of passes by red shirted players that were going astray gave the home side increased initiative.

Substitute Glen Little's cross had Leroy Lita in its sights on 78 minutes only for Wes Brown to pull off a fantastic defensive header to deny the England under-21 international at the far post.
The introduction of Rooney was Ferguson's attempt to kill off the game but Reading continued to press forward with intent and when Sidwell bundled his way into the penalty area to set up Kitson, Van der Sar was called upon to pull off a dramatic save.

The Royals finally had their goal when de le Cruz found Lita who stretched back largely unchallenged to head past the United keeper and despite Brynjar Gunnarsson crashing an effort against the crossbar in the final seconds Ferguson was able to relax and turn his attentions to Anfield on Saturday.

FA Cup, Reading 2-3 Manchester United Highlights and Goals