Cristiano Ronaldo scored two goals on Sunday to help Manchester United beat Tottenham 3-1 in the fourth round of the FA Cup, and United celebrated some more when neighbour Manchester City was ousted by Sheffield United 2-1.
Robbie Keane gave Spurs a 24th-minute lead at Old Trafford, but Carlos Tevez equalised in the 38th. Ronaldo scored from the penalty spot in the 69th and added the third with two minutes to go to make it 25 goals in his last 21 games.
”Ronaldo was fantastic again,” said United manager Alex Ferguson, who is chasing his sixth FA Cup triumph to go with his nine Premier League titles. ”He took the penalty well and was able to cash in on a mistake late on for the second goal. His performances have been fantastic and his goals return is amazing.”
Manchester United will join defending champion Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool in Monday’s fifth round draw. The four powerhouse clubs, who traditionally dominate English soccer, have won the last 12 FA Cups and 15 out of the last 16.
Sven-Goran Eriksson’s first FA Cup season is over, however. His City team tumbled at League Championship club Sheffield United, which means that only six Premier League clubs have made it to the last 16.
Luton Shelton and Jonathan Stead put the Blades ahead 2-0 in the first 24 minutes at Bramall Lane. City’s only reply came from Danny Sturridge in the 48th.
On Saturday, Chelsea won at Wigan 2-1, Arsenal ousted Newcastle 3-0, and Liverpool, despite trailing 1-0 and 2-1, beat semipro Havant and Waterlooville 5-2 at Anfield.
The other Premier League teams to make it to the fifth round are Portsmouth and Middlesbrough, although Derby County lost 4-1 at home to Championship club Preston. Portsmouth beat Plymouth 2-1 and Middlesbrough won at Mansfield 2-0.
Tottenham almost went ahead in the 15th minute when Dimitar Berbatov met a corner with a firm header but Wayne Rooney cleared off the line with goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar beaten.
But the visitors took the lead in the 24th when winger Aaron Lennon sent over a low cross from the right and Keane was unmarked as he slid the ball home from barely four metres.
”We matched Manchester United at all times and had many possibilities to score,” Spurs manager Juande Ramos said. ”The result is closer than the score suggests. I thought we coped well with the challenge of playing them on their own ground. There were some decisive moments in the game and we deserved more from it.”
The lead stood until the 38th when Spurs defender Michael Dawson failed to head away a looping forward pass and Ryan Giggs, with his back to goal, held the ball up for Tevez to fire home.
Van der Sar made a diving fingertip save to push a shot from Jermaine Jenas around the post, but Ronaldo should have put United ahead in the 58th. Tevez put him clear but the Portuguese player shot wide of the near post.
United midfielder Paul Scholes, who has been sidelined after knee surgery, returned for his first game since Oct. 20 as a second-half substitute for Michael Carrick just before the hosts went ahead.
Rooney collected a long clearance from Van der Sar inside the Spurs area and Dawson handled the ball while trying to stop the striker from shooting. Dawson was sent off and Ronaldo scored from the penalty spot.
Spurs almost leveled in the 85th when Steed Malbranque aimed a pass to Berbatov, who flicked the ball onto the post.
Ronaldo made it 3-1 in the 88th, however, with a low shot that squeezed under the body of goalkeeper Radek Cerny.
”It was a very open match and I think it was a fantastic cup tie where both teams contributed to a what was a great game,” Ferguson said.
Sheffield United went ahead in the 12th minute with some unexpected help.
Lee Martin’s low cross from the left hit one of the many Manchester City fans’ balloons drifting across the goal area and slowed the ball down. City defender Michael Ball completely missed his kick and Shelton was unmarked to sidefoot home from six metres.
Elano hit the post from 20 metres as City tried to hit back but the Blades went up 2-0 in the 24th. After City’s Richard Dunne only half cleared Derek Geary’s cross from the right, Stead scored from 12 metres.
Sturridge went on as a second-half substitute and replied within three minutes. The 18-year-old substitute collected a flicked on corner on his right leg and shot it home with his left off the underside of the crossbar. – Sapa-AP