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© 2008 gdjock@yahoo.com
Monday, September 25, 2006
vs Reading 1-1

Cristiano Ronaldo's second-half drive denied Reading victory in an absorbing Barclays Premiership encounter at the Madejski Stadium.
The Manchester United winger's excellent 73rd-minute strike ensured the spoils were shared in the first ever league meeting between the sides, which the Red Devils had seemed set to lose despite dominating for long periods.

Newcomers Reading were on course for a third home win in a row after Kevin Doyle put them ahead from the penalty spot early in the second half following Gary Neville's handball, but they finally settled for the draw which ended United's 100 per cent away record.

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson rang the changes following last week’s 1-0 defeat at home to Arsenal, bringing in Edwin van der Sar, Kieran Richardson, Michael Carrick, Nemanja Vidic and Gabriel Heinze, with the latter duo making their first appearances of the season.

Reading manager Steve Coppell, the former United winger, made 10 changes from the side that needed a penalty shoot-out to knock Darlington out of the Carling Cup in midweek.

United began with only Wayne Rooney as an out-and-out attacker with Louis Saha’s hamstring problem having seen him relegated to the bench. Paul Scholes operated as the link between midfield and attack.

The first chance fell to Rooney within three minutes and Marcus Hahnemann was unable to hold on to his low drive on the turn from 25 yards. Richardson raced towards the loose ball but Graeme Murty slid in to get there first and clear.

Reading replied with an effort from just outside the box from Leroy Lita that was only inches away from the top corner.

Ronaldo was next to have a go but this time Hahnemann was able to gather low down as the winger’s shot fizzed in from 25 yards.

His next attempt was way too high, however, as United dominated the early exchanges.

Ronaldo opted to pass a few minutes later and put Rooney into a shooting position on the right of the box. Hahnemann was able to save comfortably however as the shot lacked power.

Reading had been second best but there was a scare for United when Lita fired a ball across the box that Seol Ki-Hyeon was just unable to connect with.

A better chance soon followed in the 18th minute when Bobby Convey’s cross from the right was deflected off a defender to put Doyle in with only Van der Sar to beat - and found he couldn’t from only four yards out as offside appeals rightly went unheeded.

Seol was adjudged to have fouled Ronaldo on the edge of the Reading box on the left and again Hahnemann fumbled the resulting shot, with the rebound hacked away desperately.

Neither side made changes at the break and within three minutes of the restart Reading were ahead through Doyle’s penalty.

Neville was adjudged to have used an arm as a Murty cross from the right bounced in the box and the Irishman, who had missed against Darlington in midweek, squeezed the ball under Van der Sar’s hand after the Dutchman had guessed correctly.

There was a great chance for Richardson after Rooney cut the ball back to him from the left of the box but he missed his footing in the act of shooting and hardly connected at all.

The England midfielder was replaced by Saha in the 58th minute.

Scholes was denied an equaliser in the 68th minute when Ronaldo’s cross bounced off Ivar Ingimarsson into his path, only for the Iceland international to recover and block with his body.

United sent on John O’Shea and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the 70th minute with Heinze and Darren Fletcher making way - and two minutes later Ronaldo drew them level.

The Portugal winger picked up the ball on the left wing, cut infield and sent a superb low shot across goal into Hahnemann's bottom left-hand corner.

Coppell sent on Brynjar Gunnarsson in place of Lita as the Royals boss looked to preserve a point, but United scented victory and O'Shea saw a goalbound header blocked by Murty.

Stephen Hunt replaced Seol and soon after Ronaldo spurned a chance to win the game for the away side, sending his header straight at Hahnemann.

Midweek Carling Cup shoot-out hero Andre Bikey came on for the injured Murty with time running out as the Royals held on for another excellent result in their maiden top-flight campaign.

Goal Scorers & Times:

READING 48' K Doyle (Pen)

Half Time Score: 0 - 0

Penalties: READING 48' Taker: K Doyle

Attendance: 24098

rival watch

Arsenal 3-0 Sheff Utd
Chelsea 2-0 Fulham

Liverpool 3-0 Totenham

posted at 2:57 PM  

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