De Futebol

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The oldest competition is the FA Cup. It began in 1870. Man U destroyed the Choo-choo guys Reading 4-0 to advance to the fourth round of the FA Cup.

The Rooney Man scored his 249th goal in a Red Devils uniform to break Sir Bobby’s record.

The Guardian’s Jamie Jackson wrote:” Wayne Rooney became Manchester United’s joint record goal-scorer with Sir Bobby Charlton on 249 strikes 4484 days after a first for the club as the holders began their FA Cup defence with this convincing victory.

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Reading arrived managed by United former favourite Jaap Stam and left having had scant sniff of doubling their total victory tally over these opponents, the only previous win coming in the competition in January 1927.

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The day belonged to Rooney, though. Seven minutes were played when he made history. The captain was making a first appearance following three games out due to a muscle injury. The 31-year-old had already offered one classy moment when controlling a high ball in Reading’s area. A shot saved by Ali Al-Habsi followed and this proved an augury of what was about to occur.

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The strike that took this finest of footballers equal with Charlton also impressed as it displayed Rooney’s quicksilver brain. Anthony Martial made a run along the left, pulled the ball back to Juan Mata, and from a mishit effort Rooney improvised to use a right knee to beat Al-Habsi.

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Cue a celebration that consisted of a few steps, then a triumphant punch of the air. In the posh seats members of United’s board stood to applaud and Charlton wore a broad smile. All around the ground the old cry of “Rooney, Rooney” went up to hail a run that began with a Champions League hat-trick against Fenerbahce here on 28 September 2004.

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The Liverpudlian was also running the show for United as in days of yore.

In their last outing in this stadium on New Year’s Eve Martial had been the standout performer. Then, he registered a late equaliser in a 2-1 win over Middlesbrough. Now, 15 minutes were gone when he struck and he could thank Rooney.

he Frenchman executed a slick one-two with the Liverpudlian, ran down an inside left channel, and gave Al-Habsi zero chance with a right-booted finish.

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This opening half became a tale of Rooney, Martial and Rashford terrorising Stam’s side who had no answer for the pace of their opponents. Rooney found Rashford and after the centre-forward’s long run he blazed wide. Later, the No19 rounded Al-Habsi with ease but missed from a tight angle on the right.

Next came the pick of the period’s passes as Rooney pinged a first-time ball into Rashford and his attempt went for a corner.

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Mourinho’s XI had nine changes from Monday’s victorious outfit at West Ham United. This meant Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba were among those stood down as only Michael Carrick and Marcos Rojo were retained. And on 19 minutes the manager witnessed precisely what he did not want: the latter defender walking off injured.

As Mourinho is without another of his centre-backs, Eric Bailly, for up to six weeks due to Cup of African Nations duty his concern was illustrated by the quick word he exchanged with Rojo, presumably to ascertain how serious the issue was.

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This brought Phil Jones on and there was another scare at the second half’s start when Carrick needed treatment. A player, though, who has become vital to this Mourinho team could continue. That happened moments after Rashford created a half-chance for Rooney to break Charlton’s tally. Yet again the 19-year-old burst down the right but his ball in was only stabbed at an unconvincingly by the No10.

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Rooney went closer when a quick exchange between Marouane Fellaini and Rashford put him in near goal but Al-Habsi’s body saved the Royals going three behind. The tie was about to be ended, though, as between the 75th and 79th minute United’s lead doubled. Each finish was from Rashford, who broGoal No5 for the campaign derived from a pinpoint 35-yard Carrick pass from deep. Rashford rushed forward, then allowed Al-Habsi no opportunity to save. His second was courtesy of a comedic mix-up between Liam Moore and Al-Habsi. The defender fed the ball back to his goalkeeper whose attempted clearance became an air-pass and Rashford smashed home.

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By the close Mourinho’s men were through to the fourth-round draw. And, 12 years, three months, and 10 days since Rooney first struck in the club’s livery, he walked off to applause and only one goal away from the golden 250 for United.

https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/jan/07/manchester-united-reading-fa-cup-match-report

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