Middlesbrough holds Man United to draw

By Brian Church LONDON, AP

Cristiano Ronaldo converted a second-half penalty to give Manchester United a 2-2 draw at Middlesbrough in the quarterfinals of the FA Cup on Saturday.

Ronaldo’s 17th goal of the season came in the 68th minute after a hand ball from Middlesbrough captain George Boateng.

“We never gave in and we got our deserved equalizer,” Man United coach Alex Ferguson told Sky Sports News.

The replay is March 19.

The remaining three quarterfinals were scheduled for Sunday, with Chelsea hosting London rival Tottenham, Blackburn at home against Manchester City, and Watford at League One club Plymouth.

The semifinals are scheduled for April 14 and 15, with the draw on Monday.

Earlier, Boateng gave Middlesbrough a 2-1 lead in the 47th with a close-range header when he was left unmarked in the six-yard box.

United’s Wayne Rooney opened the scoring in the 23rd with his 13th goal of the season. The England striker kept possession despite three Middlesbrough defenders around him on the edge of the area, before calmly sending a low curling shot beyond the reach of Middlesbrough goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer.

Middlesbrough teenager Lee Cattermole equalized in the 44th following a goalmouth scramble when Manchester United goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak failed to knock the ball away from a corner. Julio Arca cleverly headed to Cattermole who controlled the ball, turned and scored on his second touch with a close-range volley.

Kuszczak started the game after regular goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar pulled a calf muscle during warm-up.

“He has a calf injury and we will send him for a scan tomorrow,” Ferguson said. “Hopefully it is not serious.”

United, chasing its 12th FA Cup title, dominated the first half at Riverside Stadium. Ryan Giggs hit the post in the 35th with a low diagonal volley.

Middlesbrough’s best chance came in the 31st when Kuszczak did well to deflect a close-range shot from Stewart Downing over the bar.

Manchester United was awarded its penalty in the second half after Rio Ferdinand flicked the ball on, and Boateng said he was protecting his face.

“I really feel as if the referee has robbed us today,” Boateng said.

Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate said his team, 12th in the Premier League, could win the replay.

“We have got to remember they (United) put their strongest side out today — that is a mark of the respect they have for us as a team,” Southgate said.

United was without suspended midfielder Paul Scholes and injured striker Louis Saha, while Henrik Larsson was playing his last game of his loan with the Red Devils.

Larsson, who scored in United’s 1-0 victory over Lille in the Champions League, returns to Swedish club Helsingborg on Monday. He got a yellow card just before the halftime for diving.

United remains in contention for three trophies this season. It has also reached the Champions League quarterfinals, where it will play AS Roma, and is nine points clear of defending champion Chelsea atop the Premier League.