Posted on December 30, 2006
Manchester, England (Sports Network) – Cristiano Ronaldo continued his brilliant run of play with two second-half goals to lift Manchester United to a 3-2 win over Reading at Old Trafford on Saturday.
Ronaldo has now scored six goals in United’s last three matches and has proven himself to be among the best players in the world. The win moves the Red Devils six points clear of Chelsea, who were held to a 2-2 draw for the second consecutive match on Saturday, this time to Fulham.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer put United on the board in the 33rd minute, but it took Reading’s Ibrahima Sonko just five minutes to reply with his first goal of the season to level the match.
After the restart Ronaldo took over, scoring two goals in an 18-minute span before Leroy Lita pulled one back late for the Royals.
The 33-year-old Solskjaer has enjoyed a rebirth this season, scoring his eighth league-goal 33 minutes into the match. The Norweigian striker did well to elude Sonko and get to the near post, where he headed home the opening goal of the match.
The visitors showed what they are made of just five minutes later, as an Edwin Van der Sar blunder led to the equalizer. The towering Dutchman fumbled Lita’s effort and left it for Sonko, who slammed home his first tally of the campaign.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s men almost responded immediately, as Ronaldo struck the bar before halftime.
The second half saw the home side continue to pressure the Reading net. Solskjaer called Reading keeper Marcus Hahnemann into action with a near-post header that the American netminder did well to keep out. Wayne Rooney also nearly cracked the scoreboard, as he was sent through by Ronaldo but watched his shot curl just wide.
The Reading back line finally buckled in the 59th minute on a nice build-up from the hosts. One-touch passing from Ryan Giggs and Rooney sent Solskjaer in on net. His shot was slightly deflected by Hahnemann and rebounded off the post. However, Ronaldo was there to touch it home, giving United a 2-1 lead.
Reading’s task became even more daunting in the 69th minute as Sam Sodje received his second yellow card and was sent off.
Eight minutes later, United capitalized as Giggs found Ronaldo at the back post and the Portuguese midfielder volleyed home from close range.
Reading kept battling and were rewarded in stoppage time as Lita hit the net for a 3-2 game. It was too late for the Royals to find the equalizer, but it was another strong effort from Steve Coppell’s rugged side.
In other EPL action on Saturday, Charlton dumped Aston Villa 2-1 at The Valley on two second-half goals, Benny McCarthy scored in the 74th minute to hand Blackburn a 2-1 win over Middlesbrough, Bolton recorded a big 3-2 win over Portsmouth, Everton got two goals from Victor Anichebe to defeat Newcastle 3-0, Luis Garcia scored right before halftime to lift Liverpool to a 1-0 win over Tottenham, Manchester City won by the same 1-0 score as DaMarcus Beasley tallied in the 83rd minute and Arsenal suffered a bad setback at Bramall Lane as the Gunners dropped a 1-0 decision to the Blades.