United leave it late at Villa
Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney struck late on as Man Utd beat Aston Villa in the FA Cup.
By James Pearson
Last Updated: 05/01/08 10:12pm
Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney struck late on as Man Utd booked their place in the fourth round of the FA Cup with a 2-0 win at Aston Villa.
The Red Devils have an imperious record against the Midlands outfit, although it looked for long periods like the game could end goalless.
Villa opted for a conservative approach, while the visitors lacked the cutting edge of Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez up front.
However, Rooney was on the bench and his arrival coincided with a United victory as two late goals sunk Martin O'Neill's men.
Firstly, Ronaldo turned home Ryan Giggs' cross from close range before Rooney's pin-point drive beat Scott Carson at his far post.
Gabriel Agbonlahor gave an early demonstration of his pace to the Italian with a break down the left flank before squaring an inviting low cross towards Stilian Petrov, but his first touch was a poor one and Van der Sar was able to collect.
Anderson was quick to spot a gap down the middle and made a powerful 50-yard run which ended with Carson saving his left-footed drive from the edge of the Villa box at the second attempt.
Petrov was only just too high with a dipping 30-yard drive in an open-ended start to the game. Agbonlahor turned sharply but Rio Ferdinand was alert to the situation and blocked his shot.
United started to enjoy more of the play territorially with Anderson looking threatening in the centre of the park. The Brazilian made another good break into the Villa box only to be eventually crowded out by the combined efforts of Nigel Reo-Coker and Wilfred Bouma.
John Carew had a rare sight of the goal after turning Ferdinand when running onto a Petrov pass but he could not convert.
Giggs missed a golden chance to put United ahead a minute before the interval after a mistake by Carson. The keeper should have dealt better with a dipping drive from Ronaldo but only parried it straight to Giggs. But, with the goal at his mercy, the former Wales international pushed his shot wide and seemed surprised by the pace of the ball.
Villa began the second half brightly and Carew flicked on a Young centre which Van der Sar saved down to his right even though the ball was going wide.
Michael Carrick teed up Anderson on the edge of the Villa area and, although his shot contained plenty of power, it flew well wide of Carson's goal.
Petrov blocked a shot from Ronaldo and then Martin Laursen was relieved when he deflected a Nemanja Vidic header past his own post from a Giggs corner.
Rooney could have won the game for United after entering the action but he shot over the bar after exchanging passes with Ronaldo.
But with nine minutes left Ronaldo scrambled over the line from a Giggs centre for his 19th goal of the campaign.And with 60 seconds remaining Rooney drilled a powerful shot past Carson into the corner of the net after Ronaldo's initial effort had been blocked.
|Team Name||Aston Villa||Manchester United|
|Shots On Target||1||6|
|Shots Off Target||5||9|