Manchester United 3 Reading 1
Manchester United are through to the Emirates FA Cup fifth round after a comfortable 3-1 win over 10-man Reading at Old Trafford.
Andy Carroll was sent off midway through the second period after a clumsy challenge on Casemiro.
Marcus Rashford looked to have made history by becoming the first United player to score in 10 consecutive matches at Old Trafford before VAR ruled it out due to Wout Weghorst being offside during the build-up.
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FIRST HALF: VAR DENIES RASHFORD RECORD
Both teams started well but it was United who had the better of the chances inside the opening 10 minutes. The first came when Antony nutmegged Baba Rahman on the right wing and found the run of Aaron Wan-Bissaka. The right-back fired the ball towards the path of Wout Weghorst but his chance was blocked by the Reading defence and went out for a corner.
Minutes later, Marcus Rashford won a free kick on the left-hand side of the penalty area. Up stepped Christian Eriksen who curled the ball around the Reading wall but also past Joe Lumley’s far post.
United didn’t stop hounding the Reading goal. Rashford’s free kick flew straight at Lumley, but instead of pushing the ball away, the goalkeeper spilled the ball straight to Eriksen who tried to find the far corner, but was blocked by the Royals’ defence.
With 10 minutes to go in the half, Rashford thought he had made history. After Casemiro’s attempted cross looped up off a defender and was nodded on by Weghorst, Rashford was there to head in what looked to be the opening goal. It would have made him the first United player to score in 10 consecutive games at Old Trafford. But VAR found that Weghorst was in an offside position at the start of the move and ruled out the goal.
Just as the half was coming to the end, Reading nearly found the opener against the run of play. Rahman managed to get enough space to deliver a cross towards winger Junior Hoilett, who tried a first-time volley but the save from David De Gea was perfect to deny the Championship side the advantage.
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SECOND HALF: KING CASEMIRO SHOWS HIS CLASS
After a very slow start to the second half, United finally found the elusive breakthrough. Eriksen floated a wonderful pass to Antony on the right wing and the Brazilian kept the ball for a couple of seconds before spotting the run of his fellow countryman Casemiro. The Reds' no.18 collected the pass, shrugged off a challenge from Mamadou N’Diaye and chipped a shot over Lumley to open the scoring.
Moments later, the first goalscorer bagged his second of the game. Fernandes on the left-hand side picked out substitute Fred just outside the box and his first-time pass found Casemiro, who struck the ball immediately and the shot sailed past Lumley into the back of the net to make it 2-0. The former Real Madrid man now has four goals for United since signing in the summer.
And that would not be the last time Casemiro would be involved in the match. Andy Carroll, who was already on a yellow card, dived in with a two-footed tackle on the Brazilian. The referee immediately reached for the red card and gave the former Liverpool and Newcastle United striker his marching orders.
Not long after that, United broke away with a counter attack which resulted in a corner. Bruno took the ball immediately, whipped the ball into the area and Fred, with a fancy flick, beat Lumley at his near post and put the game to bed.
Reading did manage to grab a consolation goal with 18 minutes to play. Tom Ince’s powerful corner was sent towards substitute Amadou Salif Mbengue, who had just come on moments earlier, and his bullet header gave the Championship side a boost as the game concluded.
United: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire (c), Malacia, Casemiro (Mainoo, 73), Eriksen (Fred, 57), Antony, Fernandes (Pellistri, 67) Rashford (Garnacho, 67) Weghorst (Elanga, 73).
Substitutes: Heaton (GK), Williams, Martinez, Varane.
Goals: Casemiro 54, 58; Fred 66.
Reading: Lumley (Bouzanis, 74), Yiadom (c) McIntyre, Holmes, Rahman, Ince, Hendrick (Craig, 74), N’Diaye (Fornah, 62), Hoilett (Mbengue, 69), Carroll, Joao (Long, 75).
Substitutes: Dann, Metite, Azeez, Guinness-Walker.
Goal: Mbengue 73.
Sent off: Carroll.
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