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United and Villa into FA Cup fourth round

Monday, January 5, 2009 , Posted by Linda at 11:02 AM

LONDON (AFP) – Premier League champions Manchester United and fellow top four side Aston Villa both made it through to the fourth round of the FA Cup on Sunday.

United and Villa into FA Cup fourth round AFP – Manchester United's Portuguese player Luis Nani (L) is tackled by Southampton's Oscar Gobern

English, European and world champions United ensured there was no repeat of their shock defeat by Southampton in the 1976 FA Cup final with a 3-0 victory away to the struggling Championship side, reduced to 10 men for more than half the match.

"I think it was okay," Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson said of his side's display.

"They (Southampton) are a very young team so you would expect us to win but we could have done it more comfortably," he also told Setanta.

Earlier, Villa were made to work hard for a 2-1 away win against League Two team Gillingham.

"We knew it would be tough," Villa manager Martin O'Neill told ITV. "It was very hard. I'm delighted we got through, delighted for the supporters and we went as strong as we possibly could.

"They (Gillingham) are very strong, they played very well and good luck to them this season."

United will now welcome top-flight rivals Tottenham Hotspur to Old Trafford in the fourth round.

But Spurs manager Harry Redknapp, previously in charge of FA Cup holders Portsmouth, knows how to win a Cup away to United having overseen Pompey's shock 1-0 quarter-final win at Old Trafford last season.

Meanwhile, Villa will be away in the fourth round to lower league opposition in either Cheltenham or Doncaster.

At St Mary's, United's 18-year-old striker Danny Welbeck followed up to score from close range in the 20th minute after Saints keeper Kelvin Davis had pushed John O'Shea's header on to the crossbar.

Southampton's task was made all but impossible after Matthew Paterson was sent-off shortly before half-time after receiving a straight red card from referee Mike Riley for a studs-up challenge on United's Nemanja Vidic.

United, who've won the FA Cup a record 11 times, went 2-0 up early in the second-half when Nani scored with a penalty awarded by Riley after he ruled the Portugal midfielder's free-kick had been blocked by David McGoldrick's hands.

Replays suggested the ball had in fact hit McGoldrick on the back of the head but, by raising his arms, the Saints player clouded the issue.

Substitute Darron Gibson made it 3-0 with his first United goal nine minutes from time. Villa saw James Milner mark his 23rd birthday by scoring both their goals at the Priestfield Stadium.

But in between Simeon Jackson drew League Two Gillingham, 74 places below Villa, level with a superb shot before Milner's 79th minute penalty, awarded after Ashley Young was fouled in the box, settled the tie.

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