The English Premier League may be a two-horse race, but the country's cup competitions keep serving up classic after classic: on Tuesday, EPL leader Manchester United barely escaped with a 3-2 victory
from its FA Cup fifth-round replay against Reading at the Madejski Stadium. After taking a shock 3-0 lead within the first six minutes, the Red Devils looked to be cruising to victory but Reading was
able to compose itself, notching one back in the 24th minute. United held on for the majority of a tense, tactical second half until Reading substitute Leroy Lita pulled back a second with six minutes
to spare. The Royals were in full control after that, forcing several fine saves from United keeper Edwin van der Sar until Brynjar Gunnarsson finally clattered a shot against the post in stoppage
time. It proved to be Reading's last good chance.
"It was an incredible game and I was thinking to myself I have to prepare for extra-time," United manager Sir Alex Ferguson said. "Without
question, with us scoring the goals so quickly it gave us the impression this was easy. In a cup tie it's never plain sailing...but I think from a spectator's point of view it was a fantastic
"It was crash, bang, wallop. There was poor defending and terrific finishing," Reading manager Steve Coppell said of the opening 10 minutes, adding that his players responded like
"warriors." "It's not often I say that there is honor in defeat, but I can give that compliment tonight," he said.
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