United force replay against ‘Boro in FA Cup

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Middlesbrough 2 2 Manchester United
Match Stats
Attendance 33308
Goalscorers for Middlesbrough Cattermole (44′), Boateng (47′)
Goalscorers for Manchester United Rooney (23′), Ronaldo (68′(pen))
Bookings (Middlesbrough) None
Bookings (Manchester United) Larsson (Yellow (1))

A penalty by Christiano Ronaldo midway through the second half kept Manchester United in the FA Cup earlier today at The Riverside. United, who have their eye on three trophies this year, were forced to scramble back for the draw against Middlesbrough, who have been forced into replays in all three previous rounds, with two going all the way to penalties. United were the strong favourites for the match, and sent Wayne Rooney and Henrik Larsson up front as strike partners, with Ronaldo supporting from midfield. ‘Boro also fielded a strong attacking side, with Yakubu and Mark Viduka leading the way. United was forced into a keeper change before the match, as Edwin Van Der Sar had a calf injury and was replaced by Tomasz Kuszczak.

Middlesbrough had the first of the chances in the game through Stuart Dowing after he received a pass from Julio Arca and was able to run in alone at Kuszczak. The keeper positioned himself well however, and he deflected Downing’s shot out for a corner. United soon was in control of the game, and their first chance came when Larsson passed in a ball to Rooney, but the young Englishmans shot flashed wide. Rooney would not miss on his next chance though, as he received a pass from Giggs and slotted the ball past Mark Schwarzer from outside the penalty area. Kuszczak was then called on again to keep United in the lead when Yakuba did well to turn defender Rio Ferdinand, and released a shot at the net, but Kuszczak dove to make the save. Manchester’s skipper Gary Neville then provided Ryan Giggs with a long cross into the box, but the Welshman’s one-time volley clipped off the opposite post and stayed out of the net. Middlesbrough made United pay for their missed chance before the break, and the 18 year old Lee Cattermole was the goal scorer. Kuszczak made an error of coming out to catch the ball, and he became mixed up with Ferdinand, who headed clear instead. The ball went to Arca however, and the Argentine headed the ball to Cattermole, who controlled, spun, and volleyed neatly past the sprawling Polish keeper, tying the match.

Middlesbrough would start the second half the same way they ended the first; with a goal. Cattermole earned a corner off Heinze, and Downing curled the free kick deep, where skipper George Boateng was waiting to head the ball easily past Kuszczak. The goal was the first for Boateng in all competitions this season. Being a goal down was a shock to United, who have rarely fallen behind after leading this season, and they soon were on the attack. Henrik Larsson had the first of the chances, but his shot was blocked by Parnaby. A flick on by Ferdinand after a Giggs corner hit Boateng’s hand, and the hero soon became the villain as referee Rob Styles rewarded a penalty to Manchester United. Christiano Ronaldo stepped up, and after a studder step slotted the ball past Schwarzer’s right side, even though the German keeper went the right way. The game was tied yet again, and both teams pushed for the win, neither wanting a replay. Middlesbrough looked the most likely to score for much of the rest of the match as Viduka made space for Parnaby to shoot, but the ball was aimed right at Kuszczak who collected easily. ‘Boro then introduced Jason Euell and Lee Dong-gook into the match in an attempt for the win, but the game ended in stalemate instead.

The replay will take place March 19 between the two at Old Trafford, which doesn’t give either club much rest after their March 17 Premiership games, when United take on Bolton at home, and ‘Boro will host Manchester City at the Riverside. Manchester also will be playing their European charity match beforehand, which takes place on the 13th.

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