Football: Wayne Rooney scored and missed a penalty on his return from injury as Manchester United reached the FA Cup fourth round at the expense of West Ham United.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s men had to rely on a on a stoppage-time equaliser from Robin van Persie in the 2-2 draw at Upton Park to avoid a quick exit from this year's competition.
But it’s rare that Manchester United give teams a second chance. And, having only gone out in the third round once under the Scotsman, a victory for the home side looked inevitable.
With van Persie only making the substitutes bench, it was left to Rooney, who was featuring for the Reds for the first time since damaging his knee in training on Christmas Day, to score his sixth goal in his last six appearances.
Anderson released Javier Hernandez down the left channel and the Mexican squared the ball for Rooney to slide the ball into an empty net.
United assistant manager Mike Phelan was caught on camera mouthing “great pass by Anderson” to Ferguson and Rooney celebrated by pointing to the sky in tribute to his sister-in-law, Rosie McLoughlin, who died earlier this month at the age 14 after battling a rare genetic disorder called Rett syndrome.
After the game Ferguson echoed his assistant's comments. He said: “It was a magnificent pass from Anderson for the first goal and it was unselfish as Chicharito rolled it into Wayne (Rooney) for an easy goal.”
But on a night of mixed fortune Rooney’s influence on the game waned and he went on to miss a second-half penalty after Jordan Spence was adjudged to handle a cross from the excellent Ryan Giggs.
And the ongoing saga of missed penalties by United this season continues to frustrate their manager.
“I think we need to improve at that (penalty kicks),” Ferguson said. “There was talk about the boy (Rickie) Lambert at Southampton who scored 33 out of 33 — that’s what penalty-kick taking is about.
“There’s been several great examples over the years. Players, I think (Matt) Le Tissier, 47 out of 48, you know. There was a player in Scotland, played for Rangers — 57 in a row.
“Your penalty kick is your opportunity to take advantage of whether it’s a foul or a hand ball to score a goal.”
Ferguson was also quick to compliment the contribution on 39-year-old Giggs by saying: “He’ll play for another year.
“There are no discerning signs of tiredness in him or weakness in his game, his quality is still there and he has fantastic balance.
“He has the appetite for it and he is just an incredible human being.”
The victory over the Hammers marked United’s 150th clean sheet in the FA Cup and set up a fourth round home tie with Fulham.
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