BY JUSTIN FERGUSON
Manchester United is moving on to the final eight in this year’s FA Cup after defeating Reading 2-1 on Monday.
Although these two teams produced seven combined goals in the first 37 minutes of their first league meeting this season, neither scored in the first half. Noel Hunt dominated most of the spotlight in the first 45 minutes, but it was not because of his offense. The Irish striker had to leave the field and change his bloody jersey twice after colliding with Nemanja Vidic.
The Red Devils were boosted by Nani’s entrance towards the end of the first half. The Portuguese winger came on in the 42nd minute for Phil Jones, who came off with an ankle injury after an awkward tackle on Reading captain Jobi McAnuff. Nani ended the first half with a long distance volley that cracked the woodwork, United’s best chance before the break.
He would finally get one past Reading goalkeeper Adam Federici, who made 11 saves in the match, in the 69th minute. Three minutes later, Nani was involved in another goal, finding the head of Javier Hernandez with a well-placed cross.
McAnuff pulled one back for Reading in the 81st minute to keep Old Trafford on edge for the final minutes. A late indirect free kick was knocked away by the United defense to preserve the victory.
Manchester United will face the winner of Wednesday’s match between Chelsea and Middlesbrough in the quarterfinal round.
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SIENA STUNS LAZIO
After a Juventus loss and Napoli draw during the weekend, this was a perfect time for Lazio to spark a comeback in the Serie A title race. Lazio was widely expected to take care of business against last-place Siena on Monday and move four points back from second-place Napoli.
Siena had other plans for the evening. The Bianconeri won 3-0, led by a brace from Nigerian-born, Swiss international Innocent Emeghara. The striker headed in a stunning header in the 6th minute from a Matteo Rubin cross. After Lazio failed to get any sustained offense going, Siena scored an almost-identical goal to its first one. Rubin’s cross found Alessandro Rosina’s head in the 23rd minute for a shocking 2-0 lead.
Lazio came out with more fire in the second half, but Emeghara was there to extinguish any hopes of the comeback just after the hour mark. The striker used his speed to break into the box and redirect another Rosina header for his second goal.
The visitors got some great chances in the final 20 minutes, but goalkeeper Gianluca Pegolo stayed strong for the clean sheet.
Siena leaps over fellow relegation candidates US Pescara and Palermo with the win while Lazio loses third place in the standings to AC Milan.
Construction on Brazil’s Maracana stadium, one of the venues for the upcoming World Cup, was halted on Monday as workers threatened to go on strike. (REPORT)
Shanghai Shenhua has been stripped of its 2003 league title for its involvement in a match-fixing scandal. (REPORT)
Blackpool named Paul Ince the club’s third manager of the season, signing the former England midfielder to a one-year contract. (REPORT)
Former Sunderland player and Scotland international James McFadden has returned to Motherwell, joining his old club for the rest of the season. (REPORT)
Highly touted Spanish midfielder Isco says that he would have no problem leaving cash-strapped Malaga in the summer. (REPORT)
What do you think of these reports? Interested in a potential Chelsea-Man United quarterfinal matchup? Think Lazio is out of Serie A title contention now? Where do you think Isco will be at the start of next season?
Share your comments below.