Manchester United 3-1 Reading: Casemiro’s double and Fred strike help Man Utd into FA Cup fifth round | Football News

A sublime Casemiro double formed part of a large Brazilian influence that helped steer Manchester United into the fifth round of the FA Cup as they beat Reading 3-1 at Old Trafford.

Erik ten Hag’s side were dominant throughout as their recent spell of good form continued, although they were unable to find a way past a committed Royals defense – the visitors managed by former United midfielder Paul Ince – in the first half.

As it turned out, the game needed a sprinkle of Brazilian magic as Casemiro, Antony and Fred helped guide Man Utd through. They also recorded an 11th successive home win in all competitions.

Midfielder Casemiro scored twice shortly after the break. Antony picked out his team-mate with a world-class pass for the opener (54) before a Fred assist saw the former Real Madrid man lash home the second three minutes later.

Fred (66) then added his own name to the scoresheet with a delightful flicked finish at the near post. It came a minute after former Liverpool striker Andy Carroll (65) was sent off for a second bookable offence, having made a late, clumsy challenge on Casemiro.

Reading pulled back a goal late on through Amadou Salif Mbengue’s (72) free header, but the only real blow for the hosts was an ankle injury for midfielder Christian Eriksen.

Ten Hag, who faces a hectic fixture schedule next month with eight matches in February, says it is “difficult” to give a diagnosis but the midfielder will be assessed over the next 24 hours.

Man Utd’s February fixtures

  • Man Utd vs Nottingham Forest – Carabao Cup – Wednesday February 1
  • Man Utd vs Crystal Palace – Premier League – Saturday February 4
  • Man Utd vs Leeds – Premier League – Wednesday February 8
  • Leeds vs Man Utd – Premier League – Sunday February 12
  • Barcelona vs Man Utd – Europa League – Thursday February 16
  • Man Utd vs Leicester – Premier League – Sunday February 19
  • Man Utd vs Barcelona – Europa League – Thursday February 23
  • Man Utd vs Brentford – Premier League – Sunday February 26*
  • (*Will change if Man Utd reach Carabao Cup final)

United now join the likes of Manchester City, Tottenham and Leeds in the fifth round, with the draw being made on Monday evening.

How Man Utd saw off Reading

Manchester United's Casemiro celebrates scoring his second goal against Reading
Casemiro celebrates scoring his second goal against Reading

Man Utd began well against their Championship opponents and had three openings within 15 minutes. January signing Wout Weghorst saw his neat flick blocked, before Eriksen sent a free-kick just wide. Then, Marcus Rashford saw his won set-piece well saved by Joe Lumley.

Antony looked bright in the first half too, but could not send any of his curling efforts on target. The winger set up Bruno Fernandes, but he also curled an effort just past the post. The two linked up again just after the half hour, but Fernandes dragged a shot well wide.

News team

  • Man Utd made one change from their midweek win against Nottingham Forest in the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg. Harry Maguire returned to action, coming into the side for Lisandro Martinez.
  • Reading made two changes after losing 4-0 to Stoke last Saturday. Andy Carroll and Lucas Joao came in for Tyrese Fornah and Yakou Meite up front.

Rashford thought he had fired United ahead soon after, scrambling the ball over the line from a tight angle, but VAR intervened to rule it out for offside. Weghorst was the culprit, off by a knee as he nodded a looping ball down for Rashford’s finish.

Reading almost went into the break 1-0 ahead. Tyrell Malacia was caught dawdling on the ball by Royals skipper Junior Hoilett, who hurried the young full-back into making a pass. However, Hoilett’s scuffed shot was saved by David de Gea.

Man Utd finally made the breakthrough shortly after the break with a quickfire Casemiro double. The first saw him set up superbly by Antony, with the winger cutting past a defender before slotting the ball down the channel for his team-mate. It was then a delightful dinked finish from the midfielder, taken with real skill.

Three minutes later, and another moment of quality from Casemiro. Newly-introduced substitute Fred laid the ball off for his fellow Brazilian, who had all the time to prepare his shot before sending a thunderbolt past Lumley. It took a deflection on the way through which may have wrong-footed the goalkeeper, but it was another fine goal nonetheless.

Reading's Andy Carroll walks off the pitch after being sent off for a second bookable offense during the FA Cup fourth-round match against Manchester United
Reading’s Andy Carroll was sent off in the second half

Reading’s evening went from bad to worse with Carroll’s red card in between the second and third goals. Having already been booked earlier in the game, the frontman flew into a rash challenge on Casemiro in midfield – very much a striker’s challenge – before being shown a second yellow card.

And it did not take long for United to add a third. Fernandes found Fred at the near post, before the midfielder flicked home past Lumley as the hosts threatened to run riot at Old Trafford.

Reading's Amadou Salif Mbengue scores against Manchester United
Amadou Salif Mbengue equalized for Reading at Old Trafford

Reading were handed a lifeline when they pulled a goal back just after the 70-minute mark. It was a goal that will have annoyed Ten Hag with Mbengue allowed through the defense to nod home with a free header.

However, that was the only real scare Reading were able to muster as Man Utd cruised into the last 16.

Man Utd vs Leeds confirmed for February 8

Man Utd’s postponed Premier League game against Leeds will now take place on February 8 at Old Trafford after both teams progressed to the FA Cup fifth round.

Player of the match – Antony

Sky Sports’ Zinny Boswell:

Antony has provoked a lot of ire since signing for Manchester United. The Brazil winger’s showboating and inflated price tag have made him an easy target.

But after a frustrating start to his career at Old Trafford the 22-year-old is slowly beginning to show why Erik ten Hag was so insistent on bringing him to Manchester.

“I think he’s growing,” Ten Hag told BTI. “We want him to be more dynamic, variable and direct. Today was a lovely pass for the first goal.

“We are happy with his improvement in this moment. There’s big potential in him and he has to develop it every day.”

Antony, who has scored six goals for United this season, showed his threat as a creator against the Royals.

The former Ajax winger, who cost £86m in the summer, created more chances than anyone on the pitch at Old Trafford and set up his Brazil team-mate Casemiro for the opener with a slide-rule pass.

United fans can expect more frustrating evenings with Antony, but he brings much-needed balance to their lopsided attack on the right wing and is an asset out of possession.

Ten Hag has laid down the gauntlet for Antony to prove the doubters wrong and become a key figure in his rebuild at Old Trafford.

Ten Hag: We are here for trophies, we are building

Man Utd manager Erik ten Hag to ITV Sport:

“The first 60 minutes was really good. We totally dominated. We were composed with good moments. In the first half we had some good opportunities. I don’t know why the [Marcus Rashford] goal was disallowed.

“We are here for trophies but we have a long way to go. We’re building.”

On Casemiro: “We know he’s a great player. In Madrid’s midfield with Kroos and Modric it was great. I think he’s capable, you see offensively he enjoys it. What I like is dynamic football with variations, many position switches.”

On Antony: “I think he’s growing. We want him to be more dynamic, variable and direct. Today was a lovely pass for the first goal.

“We are happy with his improvement in this moment. There’s big potential in him and he has to develop it every day.”

Praise for Casemiro: A huge signing for Man Utd

Casemiro and Antony inspired Man Utd to victory in the FA Cup
Casemiro and Antony inspired Man Utd to victory in the FA Cup

Sky Sports’ Roy Keane on ITV Sport:

“He’s been a huge signing. Over the last few years for Man Utd, particularly in the middle of the park, they’ve lacked a quality player with a big personality, a guy with a bit of presence.

“He’s a top-quality player. We see it week, in week out. He affects games.

“Before he came there was this perception he’s a sitting midfielder because of working with different players at Real Madrid, players who are more attack-minded, but we’re now seeing over the last few months he’s got so much quality going forward in terms of the final pass and he’s getting goals, as well as being very, very good defensively.

“A huge signing for Man Utd and a big personality, which Man Utd needed.”

Harry Maguire speaking at ITV Sport:

“He’s been what he has been brought in to do, he is a phenomenal player and he has been throughout his career.

“He’s improved the team, the morale and it’s great to have him.”

Maguire: I have to take my chances when they come

Man Utd captain Harry Maguire speaking to ITV:

“I’ve looked after myself, I think it has been two-and-a-half weeks since my last start. I have been working hard in training.

“The lads have been playing well, so when I get the opportunity I need to take it and make sure we win.

“It was nice to be out there and help the lads, and I am ready when the chance comes.

“I am 29-years-old and I have not been in this position in my career. It’s a position I don’t want to get used to.

“We know at this club we need competition for places, we have some top centre-backs at this club. I think we are all going to be needed from now until the end of the season.”

Ince: Ref couldn’t wait to get his card out for Carroll

Reading manager Paul Ince at ITV Sport:

“You’ve got to have a plan. You know when you come to Old Trafford you need to ride your luck. You’ve got to ride your luck to get anything from this game. To go in at 0-0 [at half-time] gave us a chance. But we gave them a goal, poor marking to Casemiro and it’s a wonderful goal.

“It’s been a long time to come back here, but it wasn’t about the reaction [from the Man Utd fans], it’s about our fans who traveled here. I hope our fans are proud of that.”

On Andy Carroll’s red card: “If you look at the first one, it wasn’t actually a foul. The linesman hasn’t flagged, the players are walking away and the ref can’t wait to get his card out.

“Once you’ve been booked you can’t make those challenges, but the ref can’t wait to get his card out. It’s poor.”

What’s next?

Manchester United‘s next game is their Carabao Cup semi-final, second leg at home to Nottingham Forest on Wednesday, live on Sky Sports; kick-off 8pm.

Wednesday 1st February 7:30pm

Kick off 8:00pm

Erik ten Hag’s side then host Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Saturday; kick-off 3pm.

reading return to Championship action on Saturday at home to Watford – kick-off 3pm – before traveling to Sunderland on Saturday February 11; kick-off 3pm.

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