Reading hold Man United

London, August 13:

Wayne Rooney fractured a bone in his left foot on Sunday, leaving Manchester United to settle for a 0-0 draw with Reading in the Premier League.

The England striker picked up a hairline fracture trying to force the ball home just before halftime. Although he was able to continue playing, he was limping badly. United manager Alex Ferguson said the foot began to swell and he had to replace at halftime. “He couldn’t really stand on it,” Ferguson said. “But it started to swell so there was no point in trying anything with him.”

United States goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann denied the defending champions beginning its new campaign with a victory, making five key saves.

Ferguson didn’t start either of his four new signings — Owen Hargreaves, Carlos Tevez, Nani and Anderson — as United began its defense with a familiar lineup. After the loss of Rooney, the Red Devils struggled to break down Reading’s well-organized defense.

“The loss of Rooney was obvious,” Ferguson said. “I think if he’d have been on the pitch we’d have won the match. We were just lacking central striker and it cost us.” Hahnemann made saves from John O’Shea and Michael Carrick and, after Reading was reduced to 10 men following the 73rd-minute sending off of Dave Kitson for a lunge at Patrice Evra, he made three more standout blocks.

He dived to his right to stop a 25-yard free kick from Cristiano Ronaldo and then recovered to save Paul Scholes’ header. In injury time, he block a shot from Carrick.

“What an unbelievable team they are to go 10 men down and keep a clean sheet as well,” Hahnemann said of his team.