MANCHESTER UNITED 3-1 READING: CASEMIRO SCORES A BRACE AS UNITED BOOK FA CUP FIFTH ROUND PLACE

Casemiro was the unlikely scorer of a brace as Manchester United safely secured their place in the fifth round of the FA Cup with a 3-1 win over Reading.

Erik ten Hag named a strong side but had to wait until the second-half for the breakthrough when Casemiro scored twice in four minutes.

Substitute Fred added a third a minute after Reading had former Liverpool striker Andy Carroll sent off for a second bookable offence. The Championship side, managed by ex-United midfielder Paul Ince, got one back through Amadou Mbengue.

Despite creating a host of opportunities, United couldn’t find a way through a deep and resilient Reading defence in the opening half. Marcus Rashford’s well-struck free-kick called goalkeeper Joe Lumley into action while home debutant Wout Weghorst and Antony also went close.

The hosts had the ball in the back of the net when Rashford nodded home at the far post but the goal was disallowed following a VAR review, with the England international denied a new club record of scoring in 10 consecutive home games.

Reading almost took a shock lead on the stroke of half-time after Tyrell Malacia made a mistake in his own penalty area but was bailed out by team-mate David De Gea who saved Junior Hoilett’s effort.

But nine minutes after the break, United finally broke the deadlock, Casemiro latching onto compatriot Antony’s reverse pass and lifting it over the onrushing Lumley. The former Real Madrid player then added a second with a stunner from 25 yards.

Reading’s night went from bad to worse when Carroll was shown two yellow cards in five minutes before Fred added a third with a clever flick from Bruno Fernandes’ cross.

The visitors grabbed a consolation when Mbengue was left unmarked to head home from a corner delivery, but it was a mere blot on United’s copybook.

TALKING POINT - THE BRILLIANCE OF THE BOYS FROM BRAZIL

United march on in the FA Cup with their 11th consecutive home victory in all competitions, just three days after all but sealing their place in the final of the EFL Cup.

Credit to Ten Hag - who despite facing a gruelling schedule of nine games in the month of February as his charges continue to fight on all fronts - named a strong side, making just one change with Harry Maguire taking the armband as Lisandro Martinez dropped to the bench.

And he was rewarded with another solid display, with his boys from Brazil shining in particular. Casemiro isn’t known for his goalscoring ability but he found his shooting boots tonight, and Fred made an impressive cameo, grabbing an assist and registering on the scoresheet himself. Having set up the opener, the only thing missing from Antony’s game was a goal as he won the Player of the Match award.

PLAYER OF THE MATCH – ANTONY (MANCHESTER UNITED)

The 22-year-old made several key passes in what was a superb attacking display. He was at the heart of everything positive United had to offer.

PLAYER RATINGS

Man Utd: De Gea 7, Wan-Bissaka 7, Maguire 6, Lindelof 6, Malacia 6, Casemiro 8, Eriksen 7, Antony 8*, Fernandes 7, Rashford 6, Weghorst 6.. subs: Elanga 5, Pellistri 5, Garnacho 5, Mainoo 5.

Reading: Lumley 5, Hoilett 5, Yiadom 5, Holmes 6, McIntyre 6, Baba 5, Hendrick 5, Loum 5, Ince 5, Joao 5, Carroll 3.. subs: Fornah 5, Bouzanis 5, Mbengue 6, Long 5, Craig 5.

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