Full-time - 90'
1 - 1
17:15 +00:00, February 17, 2007
Old Trafford, England
Referee: Graham Poll
FULL-TIME: Bavo Reading. The collective eyebrows are lowered somewhat as Steve Coppell's team put up a fantastic performance to force a replay. Much credit to the Reading back four and their keeper and it will be interesting to see who he picks in the home match.
Saha bursts from midfield and he should have looked up to play in Larsson who was clean through on goal. He doesn't and his quest for glory is unfulfilled when he shoots wide.
Great play from Larsson to win a seemingly lost ball and from this United get a corner. It's cleared by Hunt who slices through all the challenges from men in red shirts before sheer weight of numbers, and his own legs at this stage, takes its toll on him.
Seol is off and makes way for Glen Little.
Ronaldo is well challenged by De la Cruz and Reading win the goal-kick.
Seol once more puts in a terrible cross that almost dips in to the United goal.
Larsson is judged to be just offside when he was well on.
Sam Sodje is on for John Oster.
Larsson has injected some urgency in to United's play and looks the most likely to add a late goal for the home team, who will be eager to avoid a replay at this stage of the campaign.
Larsson latches on to a pass and rounds the keeper who does well to make the angle hard for the Swede and push him wide. Larsson cuts it back from the by-line but Ingimarsson is on hand to clear.
At the other end, Shorey's effort is cleared of fthe line by Wes Brown after a great ball from Seol. Nearly a second for Reading. It's more stretched than Chris Moyles pants out there now.
Reading manage to steer the corner to safety but they are in debt to their keeper today.
Magnificent save from Federici who pushes Larsson's half volley around the post after a fine cross from Ronaldo.
Vidic booked for taking out Oster.
Kitson had a flash of an opening there. He reads the misunderstanding between Vidic and Kuszczak and nips between them but can't get the angle on the shot from wide right.
Great tackle by Evra who then challenges Sidwell for it. The ball is caught between them and the ref calls a drop ball.
Carrick blasts a shot well over the Reading bar.
Bikey is booked for fouling Larsson.
A treble substitution for United. Larsson, Evra and Scholes are on and Heinze, Solskjaer and Park come off.
Reading corner. All the big men come up for it. This time Saha heads it clear.
Ronaldo beats two men but has a shot when he should have passed. Not like him at all.
Steve Hunt comes on for Bobby Convey.
Ronaldo's feet fool Seol who concedes a free-kick. Saha then tries to feed Solskjaer but his ball is over-hit and Federici smothers it.
GOAL - Gunnarsson levels from a corner for Reading. And a fine header it is. From the penalty spot he loops it over Kuszczak in to the right hand corner of the goal. The away end erupts and if Steve Coppell were to put on, say, Lita now...
Solskjaer looks up and squares it to Ronaldo who shoots just wide from twenty-five yards. Unselfish play from the veteran Norwegian - or was he just knackered?
Park has been the best player on view today and his passing and awareness so far are the closest United have to compensate for the absence of Giggs, Scholes and Rooney.
Park's dinked ball finds Ronaldo unmarked in the penalty area and he brings a fine save from Federici which the ref does not notice. Goal-kick to Reading who should have been two down there.
Vidic emulates De La Cruz's defensive nous as this time Convey assumes the role of chief sniffer.
De la Cruz shepherds the ball out for a goal-kick as Park sniffs around behind him. Not for guffs.
Seol's lame cross up to Kitson almost fools the way-off-his-line Kuszczak and almost everyone watching the game when it seems to be blown by the wind towards United's goal. It lands about a foot wide of it.
Kitson complaining about an elbow in the ribs from Silvestre but he has manfully shrugged off the agony.
Fletcher woefully over-hits a pass up towards Park.
Bikey gets a head on a free-kick which is played in to the United area but the ball bounces straight to Kuszczak.
Fletcher's pass finds Ronaldo in the penalty area but he is slipping as he shoots. The shot clips a Reading heel for a corner and when that comes in Ronaldo finds himself in space once more. He also finds himself offside and Reading breathe a sigh of relief.
The corner, and the resulting cross from Saha after the corner is defended, are both poor and Reading get a goal-kick.
United have a corner after Ingimarsson gets over to block Solskjaer's cross.
Another long one from Vidic to Saha but the result is the same, in fact this time Reading get a free-kick.
Ronaldo tries a rather elaborate pass when a more straghtforward one would have sufficed. It looked great...until it went straight out of play. Still, with what we've been offered so far it must count as a highlight of the game.
Heinze takes a quite dsigraceful dive to win a free-kick...two yards from his own penalty area.
Long ball from the back by Vidic towards Saha but Ingimarsson gets his head to it first.
No changes at half-time as United re-start the match.
HALF-TIME: Up until that moment it has been pretty meagre fare. Reading were perhaps the better of the two sides but that is no great boast. And now they're losing. Hopefully things will get a bit mroe stretched in the second half as Reading go for the equaliser. Because their manager is so keen to win this one. Just look at his team selection folks...
GOAL - Michael Carrick breaks the deadlock, the tedium and possibly Reading's resolve when he hits his second goal for United. Ronaldo lays it on for him on the edge of the Reading area and he fires it home with all the precision of one of his passes. And that was the last touch of the half...
Bikey again well in on Park and the ball breaks to Shorey on the edge of the United area. He has plenty of time to think about what kind of stunning shot he will execute as the ball loops invitingly down to him but you would never guess from the tame end result.
The corner is wasted and Reading will take their time with the goal-kick.
Heinze's ball is intercepted by Shorey but United win it back and play it up to Saha who is well policed by Bikey in the Reading area. United corner.
Seol's low ball in from the right is blocked by Heinze. Then De la Cruz links up with Oster before missing a great chance from just six yards out. Reading's best opportunity of the game.
Heinze brings down Seol and Reading then waste the free-kick. Saha and Park break but neither they nor the supporting Fletcher can get a decent shot in as they crowd the Reading penalty area.
Park does well to first win the ball then scampers off on a run down the right. His cross is poor but the ball eventually finds Fletcher. He shoots, but straight at Federici. There is a distinct lack of imagination about a lot of United's play so far.
Ooh. Solskjaer puts the ball in the Reading net after Bikey blasted a ball off Park's legs. When the ball comes to the Norwegian striker he appears to be level but the linesman's flag was raised immediately.
Carrick does well in midfield before executing a wonderful forty yard pass to Wes Brown who has ventured up the field. He tries to find Park but the attack peters out. Good work from Carrick to start the move.
Good solid challenge on Brown by Convey but United get it back. Saha lays it square for Park who is rushing in to the Reading penalty area but he is under pressure and his shot is well over the Reading bar.
Saha is forced wide after riding a couple of challenges in midfield. He is pushed too far wide to get a decent angle on his shot though which goes harmlessly past Federici's post.
Their team's lacklustre efforts so far are mirrored in the performance of the home crowd so far today. Singing seems to be low on the agenda of the Old Trafford fans today and the atmosphere is pretty flat.
It's taken short and Ronaldo comes inside. His shot on the edge of the area is blocked and now Saha is down with an injury...and now he's up!
Ronaldo teases De la Cruz in to making a challenge and gets the free-kick wide on the right.
Actually, it was more like forty yards out. Ronaldo elects to shoot. It would need to be special from that distance. It wasn't.
Saha battles through from midfield and wins a free-kick thirty-five yards from the Reading goal.
Seol hits a decent cross in to United's area but the only Reading man up there - Kitson - is not found and United's defence are able to get rid of it.
Now Ronaldo pops up as a makeshift left-back to relieve Seol of the ball.
Luckily for United Ronaldo was back doing a very showy impersonation of a right-back to break up a promising Reading move.
Shorey appeared to be tripped by Park there but Graham Poll disagrees.
United do not appear as relaxed as you might imagine a big team at home in the FA Cup to be. This time they try the long ball up to Saha and it goes straight in to the arms of Federici. A little more composure is called for.
Reading attack and again get a corner. There is some pushing in the area though and Kitson appears to be the culprit as the ref blows for a United free-kick.
A wild challenge from Bikey on Ronaldo gives United the free-kick.
At the other end Solskjaer's shot brings a good save from Federici for a United corner. When they take it, Silvestre's header is weak and the Reading keeper takes it easily.
The corner is head height this time but Seol's header is mis-directed - unless he was aiming for the Stretford End.
Oster's cross in from the by-line is met by a diving header from Vidic in his own area. Reading are causing a bit of alarm for United in these early stages. They now have a corner.
The corner is low and poor and United clear easily.
Shorey's cross is blocked by Vidic. Reading take the throw and pressure from Sidwell brings them a corner.
Great run from Park which Saha sees. Lovely ball back from the Frenchman between two Reading defenders, who remain rooted to the spot in their own penalty area, but the Korean's finish is poor.
Reading throw in United's half. Pass from Oster towards Sidwell is overhit and Kusczazk gets a touch.
Wes Brown, deputising for Gary Neville, ventures down the right but Bobby Convey is able to cover him and clear the ball.
Poor lay-off from Kitson gives United a throw in their own half.
Gunnarsson's low shot from twenty yards is blocked by the shins of Vidic.
Reading begin the game attacking the Stretford End.
Rio Ferdinand and Paul Scholes are also missing for Alex Ferguson's men so could the Royals be ready to spring a very) big surprise this evening?
Adam Federici is sure to have an Old Trafford debut to remember in the Reading goal as he faces the likes of Louis Saha and Ole Solskjaer in United's attack. Wayne Rooney is suspended for the home side and Tomas Kuszczak remains in goal following Edwin Van der Sar's broken nose against Spurs.
But with one eye on a European place, and the unexpected riches that would bring to his club, Steve Coppell can be forgiven for resting the likes of Leroy Lita and Stephen Hunt when they take on Manchester United today in the FA Cup.
Or perhaps it is evidence of a manager rewarding the players who have got this team to this stage of the competition (after all, nobody will be berating Arsene Wenger if he fields the youthful Gunners side which has fired Arsenal to the Carling Cup Final on Sunday).
Perhaps when Reading are seen to be treating the FA Cup as a good excuse to give their second team a run out it is further evidence of the demise of this competition.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Ulises De la Cruz