Manchester United 2-1 Reading
The FA Cup with Budweiser
Fifth Round Proper
8pm, Monday 18 February 2013
Old Trafford, Manchester United FC
Live on ESPN
Winning clubs receive £180,000 from The FA's Prize Fund
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By Chris Hatherall
Manchester United are through to the quarter finals of The FA Cup after substitute Nani inspired them to a 2-1 victory over Reading at Old Trafford.
Nani, only on the pitch because of a 42nd minute ankle injury to Phil Jones, stole the show as he scored one and made another in a devastating ten minute spell in the second half.
Reading - famous for their dramatic comebacks this season - did their best to produce another following a late goal from Jobi McAnuff. But it is United who will face either Middlesbrough or Chelsea in the last eight.
In an intriguing Fifth Round tie, Sir Alex Ferguson's men created a handful of first-half chances with Adam Federici doing superbly to deny Tom Cleverley and then Ashley Young with a stunning double save.
Javier Hernandez also went close for the home team, but Reading were always a danger at set pieces and managed to reach half time with the score still 0-0.
United suffered an unfortunate injury to Jones, who went off just before the break after a challenge with McAnuff.
But in many ways, his departure changed the game because replacement Nani became a key player in the tie.
The Portuguese winger almost scored with one of his first touches, a 20-yard volley which hit the post.
And he also forced Federici into a fine save before eventually opening the scoring after 69 minutes.
Anderson had just been denied by Reading's in-form 'keeper when Antonio Valencia found Nani - and he drove home from 12 yards to put Ferguson's men ahead.
By this stage, Robin van Persie had already been called off the bench to try and help United through - and they were 2-0 ahead when Hernandez headed home a Nani cross after 72 minutes.
The match seemed over, but Reading refused to give up as McAnuff swept home a goal from close range to make it a nervy last few minutes for the home team.
And Adam Le Fondre came agonisingly close to forcing a replay in injury time, but on this occasion the Royals couldn't complete the job and it is United who are still dreaming of Wembley.
Manchester United: De Gea, Smalling, Jones (Nani 42), Vidic, Buttner, Valencia, Cleverley, Anderson (Carrick 83), Young (Van Persie 64), Welbeck, Hernandez.
Subs not used: Lindegaard, Ferdinand, Giggs, Kagawa.
Reading: Federici, Kelly, Mariappa, Morrison, Shorey, McCleary (Robson-Kanu 70), Leigertwood (Guthrie 63), Karacan, McAnuff, Hunt, Le Fondre.
Subs not used: Andersen, Gunter, Pearce, Pogrebnyak, Carrico.
Referee: Andre Marriner.