Match Analysis: Manchester United 2-1 Reading

United winger Nani celebrates opening the scoring against Reading on February 18, 2013
© PA Photos
Sports Mole dissects Manchester United's 2-1 FA Cup victory over fellow Premier League side Reading.

Goals from Nani and Javier Hernandez helped Manchester United book their place in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup thanks to a 2-1 victory over Reading at Old Trafford this evening.

Visiting captain Jobi McAnuff brought his side back into contention late in the game, but his intervention failed to spark a comeback from the Royals.

Below, Sports Mole looks back over the contest to determine if Reading can argue that they deserved at least a replay from the tie.

Match statistics:

Man United:
Shots 25
On target 16
Possession 55%
Corners 10
Fouls 6

Reading:
Shots 12
On target 8
Possession 45%
Corners 3
Fouls 9

Was the result fair?

A 2-1 scoreline looks close and to be fair to Reading, they played their part in this tie. They cannot argue that they deserved anything from this match though. United were by far the more dangerous and creative side - a statement backed up by the statistics above.

Man United's performance

It wasn't United at their very best, but they got the job done. They would have been disappointed not to have scored during the opening 45 minutes, but in the end their pressure told. Sir Alex Ferguson won't have been happy to see his side concede, but at the same time he will have been pleased to see his side defend well in the closing stages to get themselves through.

Reading's performance

Brian McDermott's side by no means disgraced themselves this evening. They battled hard and defended well over the whole 90 minutes. However, when it came to attacking, they were found wanting for the majority of the match. They did show great character though to make it a tense last few minutes for the home team.

Sports Mole's man of the match

Adam Federici: The Aussie keeper has been criticised for some of his performances this season, but nobody could doubt his quality today. If it hadn't been for the 28-year-old, Reading would have lost this match by a much greater margin.

Biggest gaffe

To be fair to both teams, there were very few glaring errors made this evening. The big mistake was committed by United's Danny Welbeck, who was left red-faced when he tried to cut inside and have a shot, but only succeeded in mixing up his feet and sending the ball out of play for a goal kick.

Referee performance

It was an easy evening's work for Andre Marriner. He only had to get his yellow card out on one occasion, such was the spirit that the tie was played in. Some of the credit should go to Marriner, because he allowed the play to flow at every opportunity.

What next?

Man United: The Red Devils are on the road this Saturday afternoon when they make the trip to London to take on struggling Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road.

Reading: The Royals face a relegation six-pointer on the same day when Wigan Athletic travel to Berkshire.

United winger Nani celebrates opening the scoring against Reading on February 18, 2013
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