A first-half penalty from Juan Mata and a slotted finish from Romelu Lukaku deep into additional time of the first period saw Manchester United knock Reading and Nigerian forward, Sone Aluko out of the Emirates FA Cup on Saturday.

Danny Loader and Callum Harriott both went close for the Royals, with substitute Aluko also testing United’s Man of The Match, Sergio Romero between the posts.

Despite a spirited performance at Old Trafford, the Royals will rue missed chances in a largely even encounter in Manchester.

Aluko, 29 was introduced at the interval for the Championship side in place of Tiago Ilori. This pushed Andy Yiadom back into centre-back, while Andy Rinomhota dropped in at right-back.

In a bright start after the break, Garath McCleary was able to make tracks on the left. He cut back for Danny Loader, who squared to John Swift 20 yards out. The midfielder put his foot through it but only to sail over the crossbar.

And when Loader was brought down 25 yards from goal under the challenge of Matteo Darmian, Swift bent over the wall and Romero had to watch it all the way to gather.

Rather than falling away, Reading kept up their assault on the United goal in the hope of pulling one back. Aluko bided his time on the edge of the box and picked the right pass to Callum Harriott in the area. He was able to shoot but Romero saved smartly to keep the Royals at bay.

In the 71st minute, Reading broke quickly. Harriott dispossessed Ashley Young and Mo Barrow advanced at goal. Barrow got past his marker, cut back for Aluko to shoot, with Romero having to be at full stretch to palm around the post.

The match saw the Royals enjoy more possession, take more shots and have more efforts on target than their Premier League opposition, but United ended the match with two goals and passage to the Fourth Round of the Emirates FA Cup.

Born in England, Aluko was called up to the Nigerian national team for a friendly against the Republic of Ireland on 29 May 2009, an offer which with the support of his family he chose to accept. He made his full international debut in the starting eleven in that very game.

He scored his first goals for the Super Eagles of Nigeria against South Africa in a 2–2 draw on 19 November 2014 in the qualifying round for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations. He count among his past clubs, Hull City and Fulham.

 

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