United struggles past Reading in FA Cup

Updated 20 February 2013
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United struggles past Reading in FA Cup

LONDON: Substitute Nani reminded manager Alex Ferguson of his qualities by inspiring Manchester United to a labored 2-1 home win over Reading in the FA Cup fifth round on Monday night.
The mercurial Portuguese winger was sent on just before halftime in place of the injured Phil Jones and he scored United’s opener before setting up Javier Hernandez for the second.
Reading pulled one back through Jobi McAnuff but United held on to set up a quarterfinal against second-tier Middlesbrough or European champions Chelsea.
The Premier League leaders dominated the match but struggled to make the breakthrough in the face of resolute Reading defending and a fine performance by goalkeeper Adam Federici.
“It was a really good Cup tie, when they got the goal they went for it and piled men in the box,” Ferguson told ESPN.
“We played some great football and could have scored a lot of goals tonight.
“I’m satisfied with the quality of our play. We should have punished them better though. At 2-0 you are never comfortable.
“Nani deserved to be man of the match, his contribution was terrific. I had a feeling he would win the match for us.” Nani, linked with a move away from Old Trafford, struck the post with a fierce angled volley shortly after coming on and he injected energy into a much-changed United side from the 1-1 Champions League draw at Real Madrid last week.
Robin van Persie, Michael Carrick and Rio Ferdinand started on the bench and Wayne Rooney was left out of the squad after suffering a bout of sinusitis.
United won 4-3 at Reading in a dramatic Premier League match this season and they started brightly by creating several chances to open the scoring.
But Federici made a succession of good saves and the visitors slowly established a foothold in the match.
Nani grabbed the first goal with a cute volley from 12 meters after 69 minutes and his pinpoint cross set up Hernandez for a trademark near-post header soon afterwards.
Reading refused to lie down and McAnuff scored nine minutes from time with a neat finish from close range.
The side third-bottom of the Premier League table continued to press forward but the hosts, bolstered by the reassuring presence of experienced Serbian Nemanja Vidic at the heart of their defense, hung on.
United, record 11-times FA Cup winners but who have not lifted the trophy since 2004, remained on course to repeat their treble of 1999, 12 points clear of Manchester City in the Premier League and level at 1-1 with Real Madrid after the Champions League last-16 first-leg match.
Lazio shocked
In Siena, Italy, Switzerland forward Innocent Emeghara extended his impressive start in Serie A by scoring twice Monday as Siena moved out of last place with a 3-0 win over Lazio.
The loss left Lazio tied with AC Milan in third place, 11 points behind Italian league leader Juventus.
Emeghara put Siena ahead six minutes in with a header, Alessandro Rosina doubled the lead in the 23rd and Emeghara scored again in the 61st after accelerating past defender Giuseppe Biava.
The 23-year-old Emeghara has four goals in three matches since joining Siena on loan from French club Lorient. He was born in Nigeria but plays for Switzerland’s national team.
Lazio playmaker Hernanes had a dangerous free kick tipped over the bar by Siena goalkeeper Gianluca Pegolo in the 77th.


Liverpool's Andrew Robertson ready for Roma Champions League test

Updated 23 April 2018
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Liverpool's Andrew Robertson ready for Roma Champions League test

  • Young Scottish star was very impressive during Liverpool's 5-1 aggregate destruction of Man City in last-eight clash.
  • Robertson refuses to take Roma lightly after their shock victory over Barcelona in the last round.

LIVERPOOL: With a desire stoked in the stands of Parkhead, Andrew Robertson is now fired up to fulfil a childhood dream.
While following the fortunes of Celtic, the defender’s first Champions League final memory was when Zinedine Zidane volleyed Real Madrid to success in 2002 as the contest was staged in Robertson’s home city of Glasgow. He was just eight years old.
While Robertson was deemed too small to play for his boyhood idols, released at 15 with a future uncertain, he has grown to prove his worth on Europe’s biggest club stage with Liverpool.
Now, with a semifinal encounter against AS Roma after beating Premier League champions Manchester City in the last eight, he wants to emulate those Reds heroes who lifted the trophy five times before.
“I was a big Celtic fan growing up and my heroes were Henrik Larsson and Co,” Robertson told Arab News ahead of tonight’s first-leg clash 
at Anfield.
“But these heroes who have won the European Cup and Champions League for Liverpool, you have to look up to them — and we want to emulate them and hopefully get a winner’s medal too.
“The club’s won it five times and the history of the club has always been this, the Champions League, where the fans create a special atmosphere and the club challenges for the trophy. It would be unbelievable to be a part of that history.
“This is the highlight for me so far and an incredible feeling, but it just makes you hungry for more. I don’t want it to end.
“As a kid, you sit back and watch how great it would be to play in this competition, let alone in the final.
“I always used to go to Celtic and we didn’t progress very far in the Champions League, but the occasions at Parkhead were always unbelievable.
“The fans at Celtic are incredible, world renowned, but Anfield was unbelievable against Man City and we have another chance for them to create that same atmosphere and hopefully we can put in another great performance.”
Having beaten Pep Guardiola’s City so convincingly, 5-1 over two gripping games, Liverpool will start favorites against Roma.
That is despite the Italians upsetting Barcelona in the previous round with an epic 3-0 win in the second leg after a 4-1 loss at the Nou Camp.
But Robertson will take nothing for granted against a Roma side who last reached the final in 1984 where they were beaten by Liverpool in a penalty shootout at their Stadio Olimpico home.
“Barca are an unbelievable team,” added the Scotland left-back, 24. “But let’s not kid ourselves. For Roma to score three goals against Barcelona, that’s special.
“They’ve been unbelievable this season too in the Champions League and deserve to be in the semifinals. It will definitely not be an easy game.
“But once you get to the semis, the fear of who you are playing has gone because you know how good the teams are.
“It’s like you look forward to the possibility of playing in the final, that’s what drives you forward. We will have fire in our bellies because we are so close to getting there.”
Jurgen Klopp’s men will no doubt be looking to Mohamed Salah to conjure more magic against the club he left in the summer for £36.9 million ($51.5 million).
But Robertson insisted Liverpool are no one-man team and the Egyptian, crowned PFA Player of the Year on Sunday night after scoring 41 goals in an unforgettable campaign, epitomizes a team united and ambitious in their quest for glory.
“He’s just unbelievable,” said Robertson of the frontman.
“In the first half (of the second leg) against Man City we struggled to get him in the game and he wasn’t quite at it. But the second half he was different class and pops up with a goal to help us win it. That’s what he does.
“His goals have been incredible and long may that continue. He’s a great guy, so humble, and for someone who has done so much this season he’s so down to Earth.
“That’s credit to our squad because we don’t let anyone get ahead of themselves.
“Mo is no different, he’s a lovely person and stands for what we are as a team.”

 

HEART OF GOLD

Five years ago Andrew Robertson was playing in the fourth tier of Scottish football with Queen’s Park and earning extra money by selling concert tickets in the corporate offices at Hampden Park.
Last summer he suffered relegation from the Premier League with Hull City before Liverpool signed him for £10 million ($13.9 million).
In a career fraught with setbacks and hardships, he has been grateful, supporting foodbanks that help those in need.
“It’s all about giving something back to the less fortunate,” said Robertson.
“I’m in a fortunate position where I do a job I love and get paid well and it’s nice to give something back, especially in my hometown. I’ll always do that.
“It’s been a great journey for me in my career, and I’ve enjoyed every minute. But I don’t forget where I came from. Maybe it is rare, but a lot more people are doing it now and I hope even more will.”