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Robin sings to United’s rescue

Robin van Persie scored an injury-time equalizer to salvage a 2-2 draw for Manchester United against West Ham and earn a replay at Upton Park.

At West Ham, Joe Cole had a successful return as he set up two nearly identical goals for James Collins as the Hammers looked to knock off United, but Van Persie came on as a substitute to rescue the draw with a clinical finish in stoppage time.

United took the lead after 23 minutes when Tom Cleverely met Javier Hernandez’s cross but the hosts took just four minutes to level.

Back in the West Ham side after a decade away, Cole marked his second debut a day after signing from Liverpool by creating the equalizer. The midfielder whipped in a cross that Collins headed past goalkeeper David De Gea.

And West Ham’s second was a carbon copy in the 59th, with Collins evading Nemanja Vidic to plant the ball in the net. But in stoppage time, Van Persie connected with a pass from Ryan Giggs with a deft touch and then beat James Tomkins before striking through goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen’s legs.

‘When you’re 2-1 down with two minutes left, you just hope you’ll get a break,’ United manager Ferguson told ITV.

‘The manner of the goal  the pass from Giggs, and the first touch and the finish from van Persie was absolutely world-class.’

Cole said: ‘They’re a quality side and they’ve done that countless times.

‘We were unlucky not to win. We’ve got to go to Old Trafford now, but we’ve done it before and we’ll have to do it again.’

FERGIE HAILS WORLD-CLASS RVP, GIGGS

Alex Ferguson hailed the last-minute contributions of substitutes Robin van Persie and Ryan Giggs as ‘world-class’ after they combined to keep Manchester United in the FA Cup. The Premier League leaders were seconds away from a third round exit at West Ham United before van Persie scored a stoppage-time equaliser to secure a 2-2 draw. ‘We missed some good chances, with headers over the bar and Shinji Kagawa had one blocked on the line, I thought it was not going to be our day,’ Ferguson admitted. ‘But you have to say the pass from Ryan Giggs, then the first touch from Robin and his finish were world class.’ Ferguson made it clear the FA Cup was still a competition he wanted to win. ‘We want to stay in it and have a go at it this year,’ he said. ‘We have had some terrible draws over the years and been knocked out early and we don’t enjoy that.’


SWANSEA HOLD ARSENAL 2-2

Swansea City and Arsenal will settle their FA Cup third-round tie at the Emirates Stadium after Danny Graham struck late on to earn Swansea a 2-2 draw at the Liberty Stadium on Sunday. Goals from Lukas Podolski and Kieran Gibbs gave Arsenal the advantage in the final 10 minutes of the game, after Michu had struck to give Swansea the lead with his first touch after coming on as a substitute.


LAMPARD THANKS FANS FOR SUPPORT


Frank Lampard has thanked the club’s fans for their continued support as speculation continues to swirl around his future with the Blues. Lampard came off the bench to score a penalty as Chelsea crushed Southampton 5-1 in the FA Cup on Saturday. ‘They supported me throughout my career here and lots in recent weeks,’ he said. ‘The way they were with me then is the way they have been recently and all the time I’ve been here. I just wanted to say thanks back.

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