Tue, Aug 14, 2007 - Page 20 News List

Rooney fractures foot as United falters in 0-0 draw

AP , LONDON

Manchester United's Wayne Rooney, left, reacts after failing to score past Reading's Michael Duberry during their Premier League match at Old Trafford Stadium in Manchester, England, on Sunday. The match ended in a 0-0 draw.

PHOTO: AP

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.

Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson said the foot began to swell and Rooney had to be replaced 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 the second half with him.''

Goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann denied the defending champions a chance to begin the season with a victory, making five key saves.

"All credit to the lad. He made some fantastic saves,'' Ferguson said. "He's experienced, he's confident.''

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

"The loss of Wayne 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 that central striker and the experience of a 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.

Chelsea conceded an early goal against Birmingham but bounced back to win 3-2 and set a record of 64 games unbeaten at home, moving ahead of the Liverpool team that went 63 unbeaten matches from 1978 to 1981.

Former Chelsea striker Mikael Forssell gave Birmingham the lead at Stamford Bridge in the 15th. The Finn's header sent Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech the wrong way after Liam Ridgewell had flicked on a free kick by Gary McSheffrey.

Peru striker Claudio Pizarro equalized in the 17th with a low shot from Shaun Wright-Phillips' cross.

Florent Malouda, another of manager Jose Mourinho's new signings, made it 2-1 in the 31st after Salomon Kalou put him clear of the defense. But Birmingham leveled five minutes later when Olivier Kapo easily beat Glenn Johnson and cut inside to hit a powerful rising shot inside the far post.

Michael Essien made it 3-2 with a 20m shot in the 50th, although Doyle was again at fault.

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