Manchester United ease past Reading – FA Cup

Manchester United 4-0 Reading

Wayne Rooney equalled Sir Bobby Charlton’s club goalscoring record as Manchester United eased into the FA Cup fourth round with a 4-0 win over Reading.

Jose Mourinho’s side were in control from the off and had already gone close twice before Rooney gave them the lead in the seventh minute to equal the club record of 249 goals set by Charlton.

Anthony Martial doubled the advantage with a composed finish after 15 minutes as Jaap Stam’s Reading struggled to deal with United’s pace and movement.

Despite numerous chances for the hosts, it stayed at 2-0 until a double from Marcus Rashford inside the last 15 minutes – the youngster’s first goals since September.

Marcus Rashford scored his first goals since September.

It was a flying start from United and they could have gone in front twice in the opening two minutes; Rashford flashing a shot wide from the edge of the box before Ali Al-Habsi got down well to keep out Rooney’s left-footed effort.

The goal came soon enough, though, as Martial jinked in from the left and teed up Mata, whose clipped cross was diverted into the far corner by the outstretched leg of Rooney.

It was an instinctive finish and one that took him to a record number of goals for the club, level with the onlooking Charlton.

With Reading stunned, United took full advantage and the second goal arrived after quarter of an hour, Martial playing a neat one-two with Rooney before surging into the area and stroking the ball into the goalkeeper’s left-hand corner.

The visitors slowly worked their way into the game and almost halved the deficit when a well-worked corner resulted in Joey van den Berg volleying an effort across the face of goal with Liam Moore millimetres away from getting a touch that would have sent it in.

Moments later and United should have secured the win as Rashford burst onto a through ball and skipped past Al-Habsi, only to put the shot into the side netting with the goal at his mercy.

The only downside for the hosts in the first half was an injury for Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones replacing him at the heart of the defence.

He escaped, though, and United continued to create opportunities at will, Rooney missing the chance to take the goalscoring record outright as he smashed his shot straight at Al-Habsi with the goalkeeper on the floor having just saved from Marouane Fellaini.

Reading had a brief spell of possession in United territory without really threatening and they were made to pay when Rashford added the home side’s third with 15 minutes remaining, finishing coolly after being played in by a superb, incisive pass from Michael Carrick.

He had his second soon afterwards following a moment that Al-Habsi will want to forget. The ball flicked off the goalkeeper’s right toe as he attempted to clear the ball left-footed, allowing Rashford to steal in and finish from a yard out.

United pressed for a fifth in the closing stages but had to settle for four and a place in the next round, while Reading are left to focus solely on their Championship promotion push.

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