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Barclays Premier League

Old Trafford (ATT 75,655) 12th August 2007 - Kick off 16:00 Ref: R Styles

Man Utd Manchester United vs Reading Reading

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Royals frustrate United

United draw a blank

By Peter O'Rourke.   Last Updated: 19/08/07 5:54pm

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Ronaldo: Under pressure

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.

Injury

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.

Sending off

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 UnitedTeam StatisticsReading
0Goals0
01st Half Goals0
9Shots on Target2
15Shots off Target1
1Blocked Shots1
12Corners3
8Fouls16
3Offsides0
0Yellow Cards2
0Red Cards1
84Passing Success50
20Tackles27
75Tackles Success77.8
74.7Possession25.3
62.1Territorial Advantage37.9

Matches

Table

Barclays Premier League

Barclays Premier League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Liverpool 35 80
2 Chelsea 35 75
3 Manchester City 34 74
4 Arsenal 35 70
5 Everton 35 69
6 Tottenham Hotspur 35 63
7 Manchester United 34 57
8 Southampton 35 49
9 Newcastle United 35 46
10 Stoke City 35 44
11 Crystal Palace 35 43
12 West Ham United 35 37
13 Swansea City 35 36
14 Hull City 34 36
15 Aston Villa 34 35
16 West Bromwich Albion 34 33
17 Norwich City 35 32
18 Cardiff City 35 30
19 Fulham 35 30
20 Sunderland 34 29

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