Rooney equals record, Giroud late show saves Arsenal
Wayne Rooney equalled Bobby Charlton’s Manchester United scoring record as the FA Cup holders cruised into round four with a 4-0 win over Reading on Saturday.
Rooney scored his 249th United goal in front of the watching Charlton as Jose Mourinho’s men strolled to victory, but Arsenal had to come from behind to win 2-1 at second-tier Preston North End.
Third-tier Millwall pulled off the day’s biggest shock by beating top-flight Bournemouth 3-0, while Stoke City and West Bromwich Albion both fell to Championship opposition.
“It’s a proud moment, to do it at a massive club like Manchester United,” Rooney, 31, said after matching Charlton’s mark on his 543rd United appearance.
“To be up there with Sir Bobby in terms of goals is a huge honour. Hopefully I’ll be up there on my own soon.”
It was to prove a sorry return to Old Trafford for Reading manager Jaap Stam, the former United centre-back.
Rooney broke the deadlock in the seventh minute when he used his right knee to steer Juan Mata’s dinked cross past Reading goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi.
He created United’s second goal in the 15th minute by playing a one-two with Anthony Martial, who stroked a cool effort into the bottom-right corner.
Marcus Rashford made the game safe with a late brace, his second goal stemming from an embarrassing miskick by Al Habsi.
United, who host Hull City in the first leg of their League Cup semi-final on Tuesday, have won eight successive games for the first time since 2009.
Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal, FA Cup winners in 2014 and 2015, needed an 89th-minute Olivier Giroud goal to see off valiant Championship team Preston at a misty Deepdale.
Arsenal manager Wenger rested several players, including star forward Alexis Sanchez, and saw his side fall behind in the seventh minute.
Aiden McGeady beat his man with a dainty pirouette before sliding a pass into Jordan Hugill and despite the Preston forward stumbling, Callum Robinson was on hand to sweep home.
– Leicester fightback –
Hugill came within inches of tapping in Robinson’s low cross from the right, before Sam Gallagher’s lob had to be cleared off the line by Arsenal left-back Nacho Monreal.
Arsenal equalised within a minute of kick-off in the second half, Aaron Ramsey drilling home from the edge of the box after good work by Alex Iwobi.
Danny Welbeck made his Arsenal return as a late substitute after eight months out with a knee injury and he was on the pitch to see Giroud slam in the winner from Lucas Perez’s clever back-heel.
It was Giroud’s fourth goal in four games and followed his late equaliser at Bournemouth and acclaimed scorpion kick volley against Crystal Palace.
“Someone reminded me yesterday that I have never been out in the third round in 21 years, but tonight, in the first half, it was close,” Wenger conceded.
“I believe that we have a togetherness and fighting spirit and that is why we have these comebacks.”
Steve Morison, Shaun Cummings and Shane Ferguson scored as London side Millwall won 3-0 at home to Bournemouth, whose manager Eddie Howe made 11 changes.
“It was a solid, all-round team performance today,” said Millwall manager Neil Harris. “I am delighted because I know what defeating Bournemouth means to our fans.”
West Brom lost 2-1 at home to Championship promotion-chasers Derby County, while Stoke lost 2-0 at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Ahmed Musa scored twice in five minutes as misfiring Premier League champions Leicester City — currently 15th in the top flight — came from behind to win 2-1 at Everton, who had gone ahead through Romelu Lukaku.
Marco Silva won the battle of the new Premier League managers, late goals by Abel Hernandez and Josh Tymon giving Hull a 2-0 victory over Paul Clement’s Swansea City.
Palace and Southampton face replays against Bolton Wanderers and Norwich City respectively, while Burnley drew 0-0 at top-tier rivals Sunderland.
© 1994-2017 Agence France-Presse