FA Cup: United demolish Reading 4-0

England’s striker Wayne Rooney strikes the ball to score from the penalty spot making him England’s all-time goal scorer, during the Euro 2016 qualifying group E football match between England and Switzerland in west London on September 8, 2015 (AFP Photo/Adrian Dennis)

Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney
Wayne Rooney became Manchester United’s joint all-time leading scorer as the holders cruised into the FA Cup fourth round with victory over Reading.

Rooney registered his 249th United goal inside 10 minutes to match the 44-year-old record of Sir Bobby Charlton, who was there to witness the moment.

Anthony Martial added a crisp second as United bossed the first half.

Marcus Rashford added the third before doubling his tally after a horrible error by Reading keeper Ali Al Habsi.

The occasion marked an unhappy Old Trafford return for Reading boss and ex-United defender Jaap Stam, whose team may be flying high in third place in the Championship but were outclassed from the first whistle.

For United, the good times keep rolling with this win their eighth in a row in all competitions and another confidence-booster before Tuesday’s EFL Cup semi-final first leg against Hull.

Rooney has undoubtedly scored more attractive goals for United in his 543 games for the club since arriving from Everton in a £27m in 2004 – but few have carried as much significance.

With just seven minutes on the clock the United skipper improvised cleverly to get his right knee to Juan Mata’s lofted pass to guide the ball beyond Al Habsi in the Reading goal.

Rooney’s landmark strike arrived 215 matches and four seasons quicker than Charlton’s 249th, which came in a 2-0 victory over Southampton in March 1973.

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Rooney rightly lapped up the adulation of the home crowd but the contribution of Martial to the goal should not be overlooked, the young Frenchman bursting between two defenders down the left to tee up Mata for the assist.

Martial added United’s second after 15 minutes and again Rooney was involved, playing the go-between in a one-two that resulted in the 21-year-old advancing unchallenged before curling in a lovely finish.

United could and should have been out of sight by the interval, with Rashford going close on three occasions – one of those a missed open goal, albeit from a tight angle.

In total United mustered 18 shots in the opening 45 minutes, their highest total in the first half of a match under Jose Mourinho.

The one-way traffic continued after the break with Mata firing wide and Rooney going agonisingly close to a historic 250th United goal when his close-range follow-up hit the leg of the sprawling Al Habsi.

But the further goals their performance deserved finally came when Michael Carrick prised open the Reading defence with a precise pass for Rashford, who finished confidently for his first goal in 18 games.

And it was four moments later when Al Habsi suffered a nightmare moment, fluffing his attempted clearance after nudging the ball with his standing leg and allowing Rashford in to blast home from just inches out.


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