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1 vs 0
Played
March 16, 2013 5:30 PM GMT
Old Trafford — Manchester
Referee:‬ M. Clattenburg‎
Attendance:‬ 75605‎
 
21′ Wayne Rooney
 
Top of the Match
Rio Ferdinand
Rio Ferdinand
Man Utd.
Rio Ferdinand
Rio Ferdinand
Man Utd.
Flop of the Match
Jobi McAnuff
Jobi McAnuff
Reading
Noel Hunt
Noel Hunt
Reading

Manchester United 1-0 Reading: Rooney edges runaway leaders closer to 20th league title

A stroke of luck helped the forward hand the Red Devils the lead in a poor first half, before they were able to hold on to the win after the break without moving through the gears

By John Stammers

EPL - Manchester United v Reading, Wayne Rooney
Getty Images
Manchester United extended their lead at the top of the Premier League table to 15 points after a 1-0 win over Reading at Old Trafford on Saturday.

Wayne Rooney opened the scoring after 20 minutes but the Red Devils failed to kick on against the Royals in a less-than-entertaining first period.

And the below-par display continued after the break as both sides failed to threaten, leaving Sir Alex Ferguson's men to take full advantage of Manchester City's loss to Everton while their managerless opponents remain in deep trouble at the bottom.

Rooney, Robin van Persie and Danny Welbeck all started for the hosts in an attacking line-up, while Nani missed out due to a hamstring injury and Alexander Buttner replaced Patrice Evra at the back.

Stuart Taylor continued in goal for the Royals, who were under the control of caretaker boss Eamonn Dolan after Brian McDermott's sacking, while Pavel Pogrebnyak was left out despite being available after a three-match ban.

After a sluggish opening 15 minutes, Ashley Young collected a fine ball from Rio Ferdinand before flashing a shot narrowly wide of the post in the first half-chance of the clash.

And the centre-back was again heavily involved as United got the breakthrough with 20 minutes played. Ferdinand expertly carried the ball out from the back and found Rooney, whose strike deflected off Alex Pearce and looped over Taylor.

Welbeck then dragged a shot wide, with Rooney and Van Persie sending long-range efforts into the goalkeeper's arms, as the hosts comfortably dominated possesion but failed to create any clear chances against a stubborn Royals defence.

Hal Robson-Kanu was inches away from an equaliser with a superb, curling left-footed effort from outside the United box, but the score remained 1-0 at the half-time whistle.

Reading started the second period much brighter and were unfortunate not to be awarded a penalty when Nemanja Vidic shoved Adrian Mariappa to the floor in the box.

However they struggled to create any chances of note as the match became scrappy, with both sides allowing sloppiness to creep into their already lacklustre play.

The Red Devils finally sprung back into action after the hour mark as Welbeck had a strike deflected wide and Van Persie and Young saw efforts rise over the bar.

Taylor then palmed away a powerful Van Persie free-kick but the mild spell of pressure lasted for only a matter of minutes before the match returned to its former uninspiring standard.

Reading offered little in attack as they searched for another late goal, and it was in fact the hosts who went closest to a second through a Rooney piledriver and a neat effort from Giggs in the last five minutes.

Van Persie then also shot acrobatically over the bar very late on as the hosts held firm to grind out another win that puts even more space between themselves and rivals City.


Man Utd.

1
David de Gea
Goalkeeper
3.00
5
Rio Ferdinand
Defender
21′
4.00
12
Chris Smalling
Defender
2.50
15
Nemanja Vidic
Defender
3.00
28
3.00
8
Anderson
Midfielder
85′
3.00
11
Ryan Giggs
Midfielder
3.00
18
Ashley Young
Midfielder
74′
3.50
10
Wayne Rooney
Striker
21′
3.00
19
Danny Welbeck
Striker
3.00
20
2.50

Reading

3.00
12
Stuart Taylor
Goalkeeper
3.00
20
3.00
26
Alex Pearce
Defender
3.50
3
2.50
2
3.00
20
Jem Karacan
Midfielder
2.50
8
2.00
11
Jobi McAnuff
Midfielder
4.00
12
3.00
19
3.00
10
Noel Hunt
Striker
42′ 70′

Substitutes

13
 - 
6
Jonny Evans
Defender
 - 
25
 - 
16
3.50
-
Nick Powell
Midfielder
 - 
26
Shinji Kagawa
Midfielder
85′
2.50

Substitutes

 - 
21
Alex McCarthy
Goalkeeper
 - 
2
2.50
15
 - 
23
Ian Harte
Defender
 - 
39
Hope Akpan
Midfielder
2.50
9
2.50
22

Coach/Manager

-
 - 

Coach/Manager

 - 
-
 
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Results
 
Top Scorers
Player   Goals Penalties
Luis Suárez Luis Suárez
Striker
Liverpool
30 0
Daniel Sturridge Daniel Sturridge
Striker
Liverpool
20 0
Yaya Touré Yaya Touré
Midfielder
Manchester City
18 6
Wayne Rooney Wayne Rooney
Striker
Man Utd.
15 2
Sergio Agüero Sergio Agüero
Striker
Manchester City
15 0