Wayne Rooney equalled Sir Bobby Charlton’s goalscoring record as Manchester United booked their place in the FA Cup fourth round with a convincing 4-0 win over Jaap Stam’s Reading at Old Trafford.
The captain moved alongside a fellow United legend in the club’s all-time scoring charts with his 249th goal and Anthony Martial doubled the lead with a calm finish as the Reds went 2-0 ahead inside the first 15 minutes.
Marcus Rashford stroked home and capitalised on an error by Ali Al-Habsi to add a late double which reflected United’s superiority in a dominant display.
The victory extended the Reds’ winning run to eight matches in all competitions but Jose Mourinho’s men won’t discover our next opponents in the competition until the draw is made on Monday evening.
It may seem a long time since United lifted the FA Cup for a record-equalling 12th time at Wembley last May but the first home game of 2017 saw the Reds begin the defence of the trophy, with the first challenge presenting the return of a familiar face in the opposing dug-out in Stam.
The Reds made a fast start with Rashford, starting as the main striker, firing an effort wide inside 32 seconds before Rooney latched onto a delightful Daley Blind pass and brought a fine low save from Royals keeper Al-Habsi.
It didn’t take the no.10 long to make an impact though, marking his return from a three-game injury absence with a historic moment in the seventh minute. The England skipper managed to react quickly to direct Juan Mata’s cross into the far corner for the record-equalling goal he has been waiting for – which was warmly applauded by Charlton himself and Sir Alex Ferguson in the directors’ box.
Reading – currently third in the Championship – struggled to get out of their own half as the hosts continued to dominate and Martial increased the lead on the quarter-hour mark. The Frenchman played a delightful one-two with Rooney on the edge of the box before stroking a low shot through the legs of Liam Moore and into the bottom corner for his sixth goal of the season.