Ronaldo double helps Man Utd see off Spurs

Society Materials 27 January 2008 22:23 (UTC +04:00)
Ronaldo double helps Man Utd see off Spurs

( AFP ) - Cristiano Ronaldo's double completed Manchester United's fight-back in a 3-1 win against 10-man Tottenham in the FA Cup fourth round here at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Spurs took a 24th minute lead with Robbie Keane's 18th goal of the season and his fourth in four matches.

It was the first goal United had conceded this year but Carlos Tevez levelled in the 38th minute before the key moment came midway through the second-half.

From Edwin van der Sar's huge free-kick, Michael Dawson handled in the area to prevent Wayne Rooney shooting. The defender was sent off and Ronaldo made no mistake from the spot.

Dimitar Berbatov hit the post with six minutes left but Ronaldo added a second in the 88th minute to take United into the fifth round and keep their treble dream alive.

It was an open start to the game with Ryan Giggs feeding Rooney for the England striker to hit the side-netting inside four minutes.

With a quarter of an hour gone, Rooney had to clear off the line after Aaron Lennon's corner picked out an unmarked Berbatov on the edge of the six-yard box.

United were struggling to fire and Rooney drove straight at Tottenham goalkeeper Radek Cerny.

But midway through the opening period, Tottenham took the lead in some style.

Dawson carried the ball out of defence and his driven pass picked out Lennon on the right.

The winger was not closed down by Patrice Evra and managed to squeeze a cross between Rio Ferdinand and van der Sar for Keane to stab in at the far post.

The hosts were growing increasingly frustrated as Cerny did well to tip a fierce Giggs strike over the bar from Michael Carrick's clever pass.

But seven minutes before the break, United levelled.

With Lennon happy just to clear the ball into the United half from a corner, Rooney launched a long ball into the area.

Dawson's header was not a good one and Giggs held off the challenge of Lee Young-Pyo to lay the ball off to Tevez to hit a left-foot shot past Cerny.

Jermaine Jenas should have restored the visitors' advantage in added time at the end of the first-half but did not test van der Sar after being played through by Steed Malbranque.

They had another great chance just after the restart but after Lennon beat Evra down the right, his mis-hit cross flew onto the roof of the net with Keane unmarked at the far post.

As the visitors continued to threaten, Jamie O'Hara bent a free-kick just wide and Jenas missed another great opportunity.

Berbatov flicked a header into the path of Keane, who hooked over the top for Jenas to race through once again but the midfielder dragged wide.

Paul Scholes was then brought on for his first appearance since suffering a knee injury in October.

From van der Sar's massive clearance in the 68th minute, Dawson was shown a red card for handling when Rooney was poised to shoot and Ronaldo made no mistake from the spot.

United's goal, coupled with the sending off, seemed to kill the game although Scholes drove narrowly wide from 25 yards shortly after.

Tottenham finally threatened to equalise with six minutes left but Berbatov saw his shot come back off the post.

Ronaldo made the game safe two minutes from time, with a low shot that deflected in off Malbranque to take his tally to 25 for the season.