Man U beat Watford 4-1

Wayne Rooney scored two goals and set up a third Saturday to lead Manchester United to the FA Cup final after beating Watford 4-1.

updated: April 16, 2007 15:55 IST
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Wayne Rooney scored two goals and set up a third Saturday to lead Manchester United to the FA Cup final after beating Watford 4-1.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Kieran Richardson also scored at neutral Villa Park for United, which has won a record 11 FA Cup titles. Hameur Bouazza scored for Watford.

United will play either Chelsea or Blackburn, who play on Sunday at Old Trafford, in the final on May 19 at the new Wembley Stadium.

Rooney gave United the lead in the seventh minute with a powerful shot from the edge area after receiving a pass from Michael Carrick.

Bouazza then equalized in the 26th with an overhead volley from close range, but Ronaldo scored his 21st goal of the season in the 28th, a day after signing a five-year contract extension with United.

Despite a shaky start to the second half, Rooney scored his second goal in the 66th and Richardson, who came on for Ronaldo, scored in the 82nd.

Watford, which is in last place in the Premier League, struggled to break down United's dominance. But Bouazza scored his team's lone goal shortly after a throw-in when his shot deflected off United defender Gabriel Heinze and into the net off the crossbar.

"They were just too strong for us and we didn't take our chances when we had that great little period in the second half," Watford manager Aidy Boothroyd said. "It wasn't as one-sided as the scoreline suggests."

High tempo game

United leads the Premier League and has also reached the semifinals of the Champions League, where it will play AC Milan.

The FA Cup final will be the first major match to be played at Wembley. The stadium reopened last month after more than six years under construction.

United hasn't lost in the FA Cup semifinals since 1970 and started Saturday's match with the high tempo game plan that routed AS Roma 7-1 Tuesday in the Champions League.

After Rooney's early goal, Alan Smith had a chance in the 12th but he sent the ball over the bar.

Watford defender Jay DeMerit made a stop on Paul Scholes in the 21st, and, after Ronaldo restored United's lead, the United States defender blocked the Portugal winger in the 30th.

Rio Ferdinand limped off in the 40th to join Nemanja Vidic, Gary Neville and Mikael Silvestre on United's injury list in defense.

Substitute Darren Fletcher dropped to right back, while Gabriel Heinze moved to the center to partner with Wes Brown.

Watford came out strong in the second half and initially unsettled United's makeshift back four. But the team struggled on offense despite the late introduction of forward Marlon King, who was returning from a knee injury.