United strikes sink Reading
Rooney and Ronaldo goals ensure United remain top
By Laura Slatcher. Last Updated: 19/01/08 7:14pm
Rooney: Opened the scoring
Manchester United remain at the top of the Premier League after their 2-0 win over Reading at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday.
Sir Alex Ferguson's side left it until the 77th minute to break the deadlock when Carlos Tevez's through ball reached Wayne Rooney who slotted past Marcus Hahnemann.
Reading were pushing forward for an equaliser when United broke with Cristiano Ronaldo who calmly netted the second in the last minute of the game.
The Royals' best chance of the game fell to Dave Kitson just after half-time but his powerful shot was saved by Edwin Van der Sar.
Within a minute of the kick-off, Ronaldo had worked space on the edge of the Reading box with a trademark trick and his low shot whistled just past the post.
Reading twice worked promising wide positions before managing to penetrate the United box and Van der Sar was forced to rush off his line to dive at Leroy Lita's feet.
The ball fell to Kitson, whose shot was blocked by Nemanja Vidic, and in the ensuing scramble the Reading striker went down with Michael Carrick but United were given the free-kick.
Ronaldo ran at Nicky Shorey from half-way and rifled his drive inches over the bar before Hahnemann did well to turn Tevez's shot behind for a corner.
Rooney almost latched onto a long ball forward from Van der Sar inside the Reading box and then strayed just offside as Tevez's pass opened up the Reading defence.
Van der Sar dealt comfortably with Harper's cross-cum-shot and then launched a quick counter-attack but Kalifa Cisse blocked Rooney's fierce drive on the edge of the Reading box.
Reading refused to be cowed and continued to attack with equal vigour.
Van der Sar could only get a weak punch on Stephen Hunt's free-kick and Cisse's low shot was deflected wide for a corner.
Hahnemann then produced an astonishing diving save from an Owen Hargreaves free-kick which seemed destined to put United ahead until the American hurled himself across goal and tipped it wide.
Van der Sar raced out of his box but scuffed a clearance straight to Kitson, who struck a 40-yard shot first time only be denied by the retreating Rio Ferdinand.
There was no drop in pace after the interval as Reading twice pressured Nemanja Vidic into clearances and Bobby Convey almost picked out Lita inside the United box with a neat through ball.
Ryan Giggs had replaced Park Ji-sung at half-time and virtually his first act was to swing in a dangerous corner which had Reading at sixes and sevens.
Hahnemann's punch hit Kitson's back and the ball was on its way in when Cisse made an acrobatic interception to hook it clear from under his own bar.
Hahnemann then dived bravely at Tevez's feet to claim a dangerous low cross from Ronaldo, who had escaped down the right wing.
United kept the pressure on but when Ferdinand picked out Ronaldo in the box, his first-time shot from just eight yards ballooned over the bar.
Hahnemann was at full stretch to deny Rooney and Hunt then threw himself in the path of a Giggs shot from the edge of the area.
Kitson tried his luck from 25 yards and then wrestled past Vidic to meet a long ball from Hahnemann but could not lift his shot over the advancing Van der Sar, who just managed to get a hand to it.
Finally, United made the breakthrough as Tevez picked out Rooney in the box and he flicked the ball into the far corner.
United had the chance to kill the game off but Carrick missed a late chance and Hahnemann blocked Ronaldo's shot.
Harper then saw his shot fly wide and as Reading piled forward, Ronaldo was able to wrap up the win, running from his own half before sliding his shot past Hahnemann.
|Reading||Team Statistics||Manchester United|
|0||1st Half Goals||0|
|3||Shots on Target||6|
|6||Shots off Target||13|
Barclays Premier League
|13||West Ham United||4||4|
|16||Queens Park Rangers||4||3|
|19||West Bromwich Albion||4||2|