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Manchester United still on course for historic treble after FA Cup win

updated 6:19 PM EST, Mon February 18, 2013
Nani was on target as Manchester United moved into the quarterfinals of the FA Cup
Nani was on target as Manchester United moved into the quarterfinals of the FA Cup
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Manchester beat Reading 2-1 to move into the quarter finals of the English FA Cup
  • Goals from Portuguese midfielder Nani and striker Javier Hernandez see off Reading
  • Coach Alex Ferguson makes eight changes from the side that drew with Real Madrid
  • Lazio miss the chance to go third in Serie A after a 3-0 defeat at lowly Siena

(CNN) -- It is a measure of the squad Alex Ferguson has at his disposal that the Manchester United coach can make eight changes to the side that drew with Real Madrid and still move closer to an historic treble.

With his side 12 points clear at the top of the English Premier League and in the box seat after drawing 1-1 with Real in their European Champions League last 16 tie, they moved into the last eight of the FA Cup with a 2-1 win over Reading.

Only goalkeeper David De Gea, midfielder Phil Jones and striker Danny Welbeck, who grabbed United's goal at the Bernabeu, survived from the Real Madrid test as they defeated struggling Reading.

Portuguese winger Nani and Mexican striker Javier Hernandez put United into a 2-0 lead before Jobi McAnuff ensured a tense last ten minutes at Old Trafford. United are now in line to play Chelsea in the quarterfinals, if the Blues beat second-tier Middlesbrough.

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The only negative of the evening was a potentially serious injury to Jones, who limped off after 42 minutes and later left the ground on crutches.

"It was a good cup tie and ended up a really good one,'' Ferguson told ESPN. "They (Reading) went for it, piled the ball into the box and we withstood that.

"We played some great football, missed chances, had shots blocked and their goalkeeper made some saves.

"I`m satisfied with the quality of the game. We had to defend, our goalkeeper made some excellent saves because at 2-0 we were never comfortable.''

On Jones' injury Ferguson told the club's own channel MUTV: "We will have to assess it in the morning. It is an ankle injury so I would imagine he would not be ready for Saturday and we will see what he is like after that."

Arguably, Ferguson's finest moment in his 26-year stint as manager of United came in 1999 when his side won the Premier League, the FA Cup and the Champions League.

And his side are in with a chance of repeating that famous triumph after extending their unbeaten run to 16 matches.

United piled on the pressure in the early stages but Reading goalkeeper Adam Federici kept them at bay with smart saves from Tom Cleverley and Ashley Young.

Nani came on for Jones and twice went close, volleying narrowly wide before forcing Federici to tip over his fierce shot but the pressure finally told as the Portuguese tucked home from Antonio Valencia's cross.

Three minutes later Hernandez doubled United's lead with a near post header but McAnuff's finish on 81 minutes gave Reading hope though they couldn't force an equalizer.

In Italy, Lazio spurned the chance to leapfrog AC Milan into third place after they went down to a shock 3-0 defeat at Siena.

Innocent Emeghara put Siena into a sixth minute lead, turning home Matteo Rubin's cross before Alessandro Rosina polished off another Rubin center to make it 2-0.

Emeghara got his second and Siena's third on the hour mark to seal an important win for the club, who remain in the relegation zone despite picking up three points.

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