FA Cup QF: Man U to face Middlesbrough

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/A/Apmanuwin.jpg' class='caption'> Manchester United scored three times in the first six minutes to reach the English FA Cup quarterfinals with a 3-2 win over Reading on Tuesday.

Updated: March 22, 2007 06:37 IST
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Manchester United scored three times in the first six minutes to reach the English FA Cup quarterfinals with a 3-2 win over Reading on Tuesday. Gabriel Heinze, Louis Saha and Ole Gunnar Solksjaer all scored in the fifth-round replay at the Madejski Stadium. The Red Devils withstood a late surge from Reading, which missed the chance to push the game into extra time when Brynjar Gunnarsson hit the crossbar in injury time. "It was crash, bang, wallop," Reading manager Steve Coppell said. "I have never been three goals down so quickly before. We have no excuses. It was a really sloppy start." United next will play Middlesbrough, which beat 10-man League Championship club West Bromwich Albion 5-4 on penalty kicks in its fifth-round replay. "We kept giving them lifeline after lifeline, and when they scored a second with six or seven minutes to go anything could have happened," Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson said. "In the end, we managed to ride our luck and we have come through a magnificent cup tie." Heinze took a cross from John O'Shea to score past Reading goalkeeper Adam Federici, who failed to stop the ball going under his body in the second minute. " Saha doubled the lead two minutes later, chesting forward a cross from Rio Ferdinand and beating Federici with an angled shot. Solksjaer completed Man United's scoring in the sixth minute, beating the offside trap to collect a pass from Kieran Richardson and putting a shot with the outside of his left foot into the far-side netting. Federici had a standout game at Old Trafford in the original fifth-round match, a 1-1 draw, which earned him player-of-the-round honors. Honour in defeat Reading rallied with a close-range header from Dave Kitson in the 23rd. The Royals kept pushing forward, and Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson reacted by sending on Wayne Rooney in the 76th for Saha. United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar denied Dave Kitson shortly before Leroy Lita pulled Reading within a goal in the 84th, heading in Ulises de la Cruz's cross just inside the right post. "It is not often you say there can be honour in defeat but that is the position we are in tonight," Coppell said. "I have to compliment my players. They are all warriors. They didn't lay down and die, they got back up again and fought, which is one of the best qualities to have." United made eight changes to the side that beat Fulham 2-1 in the Premier League on Saturday. Only Van der Sar and defenders Rio Ferdinand and Wes Brown kept their places as Ferguson kept one eye on Saturday's league match at Liverpool. Darren Carter curled a low shot into the corner of the net in the 26th minute for West Brom after taking a pass from Nathan Ellington. Carter earlier had forced Middlesbrough goalkeeper Brad Jones to push his header over the crossbar. Ellington also had tested Jones. Viduka draws level Mark Viduka equalised for Middlesbrough in the 63rd minute, his shot deflecting off Curtis Davies before entering the net. It was the ninth goal in 2007 for the Australian striker and pushed the game into extra time. Ellington was sent off three minutes in for a tackle on Stuart Parnaby. Extra time also ended 1-1 and the game went to penalty kicks. Middlesbrough advanced when West Brom's Sherjill MacDonald sent his spot kick over the bar. George Boateng, Ayegbeni Yakubu, Julio Arca, James Morrisson and Stewart Downing all converted for Middlesbrough, while Dong Gook-lee sent his wide. "We have shown fantastic character to come through," Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate said. "We were really poor in the first half, but after that, the lads came back and played well and we looked the more likely side to score. We had some young lads taking the penalties but they dealt with that test very well." On Wednesday, Arsenal and Blackburn play a fifth-round replay at Ewood Park for the chance to host Manchester City in the quarterfinals on March 11. Chelsea will play Tottenham, and Plymouth will face Watford in the other quarterfinals.

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