Royals frustrate United
United draw a blank
By Peter O'Rourke. Last Updated: 19/08/07 5:54pm
Ronaldo: Under pressure
Manchester United were held to a frustrating goalless draw by brave Reading in their Premier League opener.
The champions dominated the game, but could not find a way past a stubborn Reading defence and an inspired Marcus Hahnemann.
To add to United disappointment Wayne Rooney suffered a serious-looking foot injury in the first half and was forced off at the break.
Reading were forced to play the last 17 minutes with just ten men following substitute Dave Kitson's sending off just 37 seconds after enterting the fray.
United threw everything at Reading in the closing stages, but Steve Coppell's men held firm to pick up a priceless point.
Having seen all their major rivals collect three points over the weekend, United knew they had to get off to a quick start.
The closest they came to scoring in the first half was when a Ryan Giggs volley crashed back off a post, although the acute angle presented to the veteran Welshman by Cristiano Ronaldo's curling cross always meant he was an outside bet to score.
Rooney went close on a couple of occasions, the second of which saw him steer Michael Carrick's low cross just over.
It was that chance which ended with Duberry accidentally landing on his foot. Instantly, it became apparent Rooney had a problem.
He carried on until the end of the first half, but the England international did not reappear for the second half with Nani coming on for his home debut as his replacement.
Within 12 minutes of the restart United suffered another injury blow when Mikael Silvestre limped off to be replaced by John O'Shea.
O'Shea and Ronaldo were used as strikers in the absence of Rooney and the Irishman did manage to force Hahnemann into an instinctive save after Ronaldo and Paul Scholes had combined to set him up.
Reading suffered a blow on 73 minutes when Kitson, who had just come on, was shown a straight red card by referee Rob Styles after catching Patrice Evra with raised studs.
United launched themselves into a furious late assault, peppering the Reading goal.
The best chance arrived in the final minutes when Darren Fletcher nodded Nani's cross into Scholes path. The former England star looked certain to score but, from seven yards, headed straight at Hahnemann.
|Manchester United||Team Statistics||Reading|
|0||1st Half Goals||0|
|9||Shots on Target||2|
|15||Shots off Target||1|
Barclays Premier League
|7||West Ham United||22||36|
|14||West Bromwich Albion||22||22|
|19||Queens Park Rangers||22||19|