Portuguese winger Nani scored the opening goal and assisted on a second by Javier Hernandez to help Manchester United advance past Reading in the FA Cup on Monday.

Not in the starting line-up, Nani came in for the injured defender Phil Jones in the 43rd minute of play when the match was still scoreless. The Portuguese international was inspirational from the start by hiting the post with one attempt and testing the Reading goalkeeper from distance with another.

Nani was rewarded in 69th minute when Antonio Valencia delivered a pass to the Portuguese in the box which he struck neatly past Reading keeper Adam Federici. A few minutes later, Nani sent a beautifully timed cross into the box which Hernandez struck with his head straight into the goal.

Reading would score late, but Manchester United would hold on and advance to the quarter-finals with a 2-1 win at Old Trafford. Manager Sir Alex Ferguson was full of praise for the Portuguese winger.

“His contribution was terrific,” Sir Alex told the club’s official website. “Just after coming on he had two great strikes, one hit the post and the other one was saved. In the second half he got us the opening goal and I had the feeling he would win the match for us.”

“I think he deserved it. He’s a fantastic talent. You could see he was right on form when he came on. He’s a good addition. If he keeps that form, it makes my job more difficult.”

Nani who has been frequently injured and off form this season has now put together a series of good performances. Nani played well in Portugal’s disappointing 3-2 defeat to Ecuador, setting up the second Seleção goal by Helder Postiga.

He has been the subject of many transfer rumours. The most recent to have emerged from the English press has Nani being swapped for FC Porto’s James Rodriguez.


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