As the third round of the FA Cup approaches, there are several fixtures which provide the potential for a shock FA Cup exit, one of which is Reading’s trip to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United.
Despite the gulf in class between the RedDevils and the Royals, United need to be careful not to underestimate theiropponents. We’ve taken a look at three occasions where the Red Devils weredefeated by the underdogs as a lesson prior to their clash with Reading.
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Manchester United 0-1 Leeds United
A fierce rivalry that is believed to originate from the Wars of the Roses, which saw Lancashire and Yorkshire battle for the throne of England. The football rivalry have been intense from the get go and when the two clubs met in the FA Cup third round, it was as if nothing had changed.
Despite Leeds being top of League One, and 43 league places lower than their Lancashire rivals, it was Leeds who were able to come out on top in this exchange. A goal from Jermaine Beckford in the 19th minute was enough to secure victory for the Whites in the feisty encounter.
United have remained as the more successful club of the two, having won 20 top division titles, 13 of which have been Premier League titles. They’ve also won 12 FA Cups and three European Cups, the latter being a trophy their Yorkshire rivals have never won. With Leeds mounting a strong bid to return to the Premier League, this rivalry could return on a more regular basis starting next season.
Manchester United 0-1 Southampton
When Tommy Docherty’s Manchester United travelled to Wembley to take on second division Southampton in the FA Cup final in 1976, few people gave the Saints a chance of achieving victory.
United had finished third in the First Division while their opponents only managed a sixth place finish in the Second Division. With a team containing Alex Stepney, Steve Coppell and Lou Macari, the Red Devils were the favourites and it’s no surprise that they started the match as the stronger side.
However, as United failed to take their chances, Southampton’s Bobby Stokes scored the winner for the Saints in the 83rd minute after receiving a pass from Jim McCalliog, he helped Soton win their first major trophy.
United fans have the right to feel aggrieved over the result as the referee in charge of the final, Clive Thomas, has admitted since that Stokes may have been offside for the goal he scored.
Manchester United 0-1 Portsmouth
This is arguably the least surprising result of the three, but Portsmouth did produce a shocking victory nonetheless. Premier League Portsmouth travelled to Old Trafford in March 2008 to contest an FA Cup quarter final fixture with the Red Devils.
Although the Blues had been flying high in the Premier League, they would be up against some of the best players in the world. Paul Scholes, Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez all lined up for United that day in 2008 but they couldn’t break down the Portsmouth defence.
Portsmouth’s manager Harry Redknapp had previously beaten Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United side in the FA Cup with both Bournemouth and West Ham and he continued his form as Pompey manager.
After half time, legendary goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar had been replaced by Tomasz Kuszczak, which would ultimately prove to be United’s downfall. It all fell apart for United in the 76th minute as Kuszczak brought down Milan Baros in the area and was sent off. Sulley Muntari emphatically scored the 78th minute penalty after centre back Rio Ferdinand went in goal.
Portsmouth meanwhile went on to win the FA Cup and played in the UEFA Cup the following season. They’ve since fallen from grace, suffering relegations all the way down to League Two, but are now bouncing back, winning the 2016/17 League Two title and they currently sit at the top of the League One table.
With these shock defeats in mind, Unitedwill have to be aware that their superior team won’t automatically win against Reading.