Thursday, January 31, 2008

United Beat Portsmouth 2-0

NO matter how you assess Cristiano Ronaldo's goalscoring figures this season, they are phenomenal.

The Madeiran magician has already scored nine goals in 2008, 21 goals in the last 16 matches and 19 Premier League goals for the season - despite not hitting a league goal until the end of September.

After 13 minutes, he might have thought about betting on Ronaldo to match the double hat-trick Bestie scored in the FA Cup at Northampton in 1970.

Ronaldo's first came courtesy of one of many superb passes from Paul Scholes. Ronaldo chested it down to Nani, who immediately whipped the ball forward as the Portuguese wonder turned his marker and raced clear.

The cool finish was typical of a man in form as he passed the ball beyond James and inside the near post.

If that was delicate, his second was devastating as he crashed a free-kick into the top right hand corner with James frozen on the spot.

While Ronaldo is compiling his exceptional figures, Rooney - the man who shared the top scorer accolade with him last term - can't get anywhere near.

But there can be no complaints about the physical strength and determination he produced to keep United buzzing against Portsmouth.

But for a lob that didn't quite come off after 55 minutes, Rooney might have been on the scoresheet in front of England boss Fabio Capello.

When Rooney was substituted in the 73rd minute, the Italian made his exit too. Ronaldo headed for the bench at the same time and must have been puzzled as to how he went an hour after his first two without scoring again.

Monday, January 28, 2008

United to face Arsenal in 5th Round

FA Cup fifth round draw

Bristol Rovers v Southampton
Cardiff City v Wolves
Sheffield United v Middlesbrough
Liverpool v Barnsley
Manchester United v Arsenal
Preston v Portsmouth
Coventry City v West Brom
Chelsea v Huddersfield

Ties to be played on the weekend of February 16 and 17.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Spurs Go Down 3-1 To Manchester United

Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as Manchester United beat Tottenham 3-1 in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Sunday.

United also had a second reason to celebrate as neighbour Manchester City was ousted by Sheffield United 2-1.

Robbie Keane gave Spurs a 24th-minute lead at Old Trafford, but Carlos Tevez tied it in the 38th. Ronaldo scored from the penalty spot in the 69th and added the third with two minutes to go.

"Ronaldo was fantastic again," said United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who is chasing his sixth FA Cup triumph to go with his nine Premier League titles. "He took the penalty well and was able to cash in on a mistake late on for the second goal.

"His performances have been fantastic and his goals return is amazing."

The Reds will join defending champion Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool in Monday's fifth round draw. The four powerhouse clubs, who traditionally dominate English soccer, have won the last 12 FA Cups and 15 out of the last 16.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Was It An Offensive Gesture?

Alex Ferguson has denied that an offensive gesture he made during his team's Premier League win over Reading was directed at opposition fans.

Ferguson made the hand signal when Cristiano Ronaldo scored a 90th-minute goal to complete Saturday's 2-0 win at Madejski Stadium, a result that kept the defending champions on top of the Premier League.

"All I was doing was expressing my relief in what was one of our hardest matches of the season," Ferguson said. "Reading always make it tough for us, and our players had to run so much we clocked up more kilometres than in any other game this season.

"It was relief."

United had drawn three of its past five matches with Reading and was held until the 77th minute on Saturday, when Wayne Rooney gave United the lead.

Ferguson has already been banned for two games this season for abusing a referee during a 1-0 loss at Bolton in November.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Ronaldo Not Concerned About Best`s Record

Cristiano Ronaldo admits he is flattered to be compared to Manchester United great George Best but insists his only focus is winning the title.

The Portuguese winger is chasing Best's record of 32 goals in a season after continuing his red-hot form with a goal against Reading on Saturday.

Ronaldo's late effort at the Madejski Stadium took his tally for the campaign to 23 to equal his return of last season.

But while he is happy to be likened to United legend Best, Ronaldo insists his aim is to win the title, rather than set a new benchmark for a wide man.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Reds stay on top

Manchester United retained their position on top of the Barclays Premier League after goals from Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo earned them a 2-0 victory over Reading.

United did not have it all their own way by any means and for a long time it appeared they would be denied by a combination of poor finishing, excellent goalkeeping and brave Reading defending.

But with 13 minutes remaining, Rooney latched onto Carlos Tevez's through ball and directed his first-time shot past Hahnemann.

And as Reading pushed for the equaliser - James Harper's low strike in the last minute went agonisingly wide - Ronaldo broke clear to wrap up the victory.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

United THRASH Newcastle 6-0

Cristiano Ronaldo's first hat-trick for Manchester United sent them to the Premier League summit as they destroyed managerless Newcastle at Old Trafford.

The winger's free-kick broke the deadlock after 49 minutes and Carlos Tevez quickly tapped in a second.

Ronaldo capped a stunning four-man move for the third and Rio Ferdinand volleyed in a fourth after 85 minutes.

He sealed his treble via a deflection, and Newcastle's Alan Smith saw red for dissent after Tevez's disputed sixth.

Newcastle's fans, stunned by Harry Redknapp's refusal to succeed sacked Sam Allardyce, paraded banners calling for the appointment of Alan Shearer.

But the Tyneside legend is unlikely to have been tempted towards the hot-seat by what was on offer from a wretched Newcastle side.

New England coach Fabio Capello was in attendance as Wayne Rooney drove an early chance over the top as United set the platform for first-half domination.

Newcastle keeper Shay Given twice saved well from Rooney as United threatened to lay siege to the visitors' goal.

Claudio Cacapa then cleared a goal-bound header from John O'Shea before the game had a moment of controversy after 28 minutes.

Ronaldo was furious - as was a gesticulating Sir Alex Ferguson - when referee Rob Styles turned down penalty appeals after he tumbled under challenge from Steven Taylor.

Old Trafford was in a fury, but Ronaldo was looking for the spot-kick and went to ground far too easily.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Ferguson Praises Rooney's Impact

Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson hailed the introduction of Wayne Rooney from the bench as the inspiration for their 2-0 FA Cup win at Aston Villa.

The third-round tie appeared destined for a replay until Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring nine minutes from time and Rooney sealed the win late on.

"Wayne changed the game when he came on. He brought us thrust and enthusiasm and direct play," Ferguson said.

"He attacked defenders and made a heck of a difference to the game."

Under the watchful eye of England boss Fabio Capello, Rooney came off the bench to score United's second at Villa Park and said he was always confident his side would progress.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

United Target Top Spot, Again

Manchester United were certain to be champions in many pundits eyes before Saturday's surprising defeat at West Ham. They have a chance to reclaim the lead when they entertain struggling Birmingham at Old Trafford on New Years Day, which looks like a great opportunity for the Champions to get back to winning ways.

United rested a few players for the trip to Upton Park, and that decision backfired when Cristiano Ronaldo failed to score from a penalty.

Had the Portuguese winger converted that spot kick to double United's lead, Alex Ferguson's men would have ended 2007 as league leaders, but that miss cost United the points. However, it would be unfair to criticise Ronaldo who was without question the best player in the Premier League in 2007.

Ferguson has told his players to forget about West Ham, and they should return to winning ways against a Birmingham side that have struggled for consistency this season, despite the arrival of former Scotland boss Alex McCleish. Manchester United have been i