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Rediff.com  » Sports » Solskjaer earns Manchester United last-gasp win

Solskjaer earns Manchester United last-gasp win

January 08, 2007 08:00 IST

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer struck in injury time to earn Manchester United a 2-1 home win over Aston Villa in the third round of the FA Cup on Sunday.

The game had been heading for a draw after Milan Baros had cancelled out a goal by Henrik Larsson on the Swede's United debut but Solskjaer settled it with the aid of a goalkeeping blunder.

Joining 11-times winners United in Monday's third round draw are Blackburn Rovers, who won 4-1 at Everton. The day's two other games between first division and Premier League clubs both finished level.

Sheffield Wednesday and Manchester City drew 1-1 at Hillsborough while Cardiff City against Tottenham Hotspur was goalless at a windswept Ninian Park.

At Old Trafford, United had dominated the first half without really threatening until Larsson, who has joined on a three-month loan from Helsingborgs, broke the deadlock in the 55th minute.

The former Swedish international striker was picked out by Wayne Rooney and finished cleanly from 15 metres.

From then on it became a stream of United attacks with Ryan Giggs, Rooney and Ronaldo all going close.

However, United then paid for their failure to finish as Villa, without a win in their previous 10 games, finally roused themselves.

After Gary Cahill and Isaiah Osbourne had threatened, substitute Baros beat stand-in goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak with a low shot after a neat control and turn.

FERGUSON PRAISE

Just as it seemed Villa would hold out for the draw, Rooney fed Solskjaer in the inside right channel and the Norwegian striker, on as a 78th minute replacement for Larsson, fired in a crisp first-time shot that on-loan Hungarian international goalkeeper Gabor Kiraly somehow allowed through his grasp and over the line.

"We made a host of chances and some of our football was very good but you have to feel for Villa as when they made the changes they became a threat to us and probably deserved their goal," United manager Alex Ferguson told Sky Sports.

Asked about his decision to sign 35-year-old Larsson, Ferguson said: "We had to find out about his fitness and sharpness and we found out all right. He's so quick and bright and it was a terrific goal."

Blackburn stunned Goodison Park with three goals in the first 38 minutes through Matt Derbyshire, Morten Gamst Pedersen and Paul Gallagher. Everton's only reply was a 69th minute Andrew Johnson penalty before Benni McCarthy got Blackburn's injury-time fourth.

Manchester City barely mustered a shot at Hillsborough before a Georgios Samaras penalty gave them the lead in the 78th minute.

Wednesday deservedly levelled within a minute with a great goal by Steve MacLean.

On Saturday, holders Liverpool were knocked out when they lost 3-1 at home to Arsenal while Premier League strugglers Charlton Athletic and Sheffield United were beaten by third division sides Nottingham Forest and Swansea respectively.

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