MX23RW : Tuesday, February 19 00:43:24

Result: Manchester United maintain 100% start under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in FA Cup

Manchester United book their place in the fourth round of the FA Cup and make it five wins from five under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with a 2-0 victory over Reading.

Manchester United have safely booked their place in the fourth round of the FA Cup courtesy of a 2-0 win over Reading at Old Trafford this afternoon.

First-half goals from Juan Mata and Romelu Lukaku sealed United's progress against their Championship opponents as they continued their 100% record under interim boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with a fifth win from five.

However, Reading can take a lot of encouragement from their performance, having ended the match with more shots and more possession than the 12-time FA Cup champions.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer applauds during the FA Cup third-round game between Manchester United and Reading on January 5, 2019© Reuters

Both the form book and the league tables suggested a comfortable home win, but it was Reading - 23rd in the Championship and now without a win in 11 - who settled quicker than a United side containing the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Lukaku.

The hosts did burst into life in the 16th minute when Lukaku, Fred and Scott McTominay were all involved in a slick move to set up Sanchez, who fired an effort narrowly over from just outside the area.

Reading hit back immediately, though, and created their first chance of the contest less than a minute later when Garath McCleary's pass went all the way through to Andy Yiadom, who sliced his finish well off target when he should have done better.

Fred had the ball in the back of the net shortly afterwards and, while the goal was correctly disallowed for offside, a lengthy VAR consultation lasting more than two minutes ruled that there had been a foul on Mata before the ball squirmed its way through to the Brazilian midfielder.

Juan Mata celebrates scoring from the spot during the FA Cup third-round game between Manchester United and Reading on January 5, 2019© Reuters

Referee Stuart Attwell therefore pointed to the spot, and Mata tucked the penalty away himself to settle any United nerves following an unconvincing start.

Lukaku almost doubled that advantage when he was played through on goal by Fred, but he got the ball caught underneath his feet and his eventual shot was too close to Anssi Jaakkola.

Once again, Reading responded in kind and their best chance of the first half went begging on the half-hour mark when Callum Harriott sent Danny Loader through on goal, only for the striker to take too long over his finish as he tried to take the ball around Sergio Romero.

The Royals were more than holding their own against their illustrious hosts, though, and Harriott squandered two long-range opportunities before Yiadom stung the palms of Romero at the near post with a powerful strike on the turn.

However, just when it looked as though the visitors might equalise, United doubled their advantage with the last major action of the first half as Lukaku latched on to Sanchez's incisive pass before rounding the keeper and sliding his finish into an empty net for his third goal in as many games.

Romelu Lukaku scores the second during the FA Cup third-round game between Manchester United and Reading on January 5, 2019© Reuters

It made for a harsh half-time deficit as far as Reading were concerned, but the Championship outfit did not let their heads drop as Jon Swift flashed a couple of long-range efforts towards goal before Harriott fired a golden chance too close to Romero from inside the area.

Solskjaer felt confident enough with his side's two-goal lead to hand a first-team debut to highly-rated youngster Tahith Chong, although moments later he was struck with a blow as Sanchez - only just back from a hamstring injury - limped off with what looked like a recurrence of the problem.

Marouane Fellaini - also on as a sub - was the next to come close when he failed to generate enough power to steer a close-range effort past the keeper after good work from Ashley Young, but the plucky visitors were soon on the front foot once again.

This time Young was at fault having been caught in possession inside his own half, and the move ended with Sone Aluko's scuffed strike forcing a full-stretch save from Romero to turn it behind for a corner.

Sergio Romero in action during the FA Cup third-round game between Manchester United and Reading on January 5, 2019© Reuters

United saw out the match in a professional manner during the closing stages, though, and almost added a third with the final meaningful action of the game when Andreas Pereira was denied by a fine stop from Jaakkola.

The result leaves Reading boss Jose Gomes still searching for his first win in charge of the Royals - who as a club have not won a game since November 3 - but the visitors will take encouragement from their performance despite once again failing to score in another defeat.

MAN UTD (4-3-3): Romero; Dalot, Darmian, Jones, Young; McTominay, Pereira, Fred (Fellaini 62'); Mata (Chong 62'), Lukaku, Sanchez (Rashford 64')

READING (4-2-3-1): Jaakola; Yiadom, Ilori (Aluko 46'), Moore, Richards; Kelly, Rinomhota; McCleary (Barrow 61'), Swift, Harriott (Meite 76'); Loader

Share this article now:
Alexis Sanchez during a Manchester United training session on November 26, 2018
Read Next:
How Man Utd could line up against Reading
>

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel
Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City27212474205465
2Liverpool26205159154465
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs26200654252960
4Manchester UnitedMan Utd26156552351751
5Arsenal26155653371650
6Chelsea26155645291650
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves2611693433139
8Watford2610793434037
9Everton2796123639-333
10West Ham UnitedWest Ham2696113239-733
11Bournemouth26103133747-1033
12Leicester CityLeicester2695123134-332
13Crystal Palace2676132734-727
14Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2676132839-1127
15Burnley2676132947-1827
16Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2667132234-1225
17Cardiff CityCardiff2674152447-2325
18Southampton2659122844-1624
19Fulham2645172558-3317
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2625191448-3411

Subscribe to our Newsletter


Transfer Talk Daily
Match previews - twice weekly
Morning Briefing (7am UTC)
Ultra close-up image of Kevin De Bruyne [NOT FOR USE IN ARTICLES]Get the latest transfer news, match previews and news direct to your inbox!

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel
Login, I already have my ad-free pass
Log in to customise Sports Mole
Buy ad-free access (show me the options)
Buy monthly ad-free access for £1.20/month
Buy yearly ad-free access for £12 (2 months free)
Settings - Logout - Manage your account
Settings - Logout - Manage your account