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Rio Ferdinand was absent from the Manchester United line-up for FA Cup third-round clash with Aston Villa.

He made way for Wes Brown, who was making his first start of the season after cruciate knee ligament damage.

Ferguson made four other changes from the side which won at Middlesbrough with Nicky Butt, Kleberson, Diego Forlan and John O'Shea replacing Roy Keane, Phil Neville, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Darren Fletcher.

Van Nistelrooy was on the substitutes' bench - the same role he occupied in the cup clash between the clubs two years ago when he came on and scored twice as United won 3-2 after trailing 2-0.

Ulises de la Cruz came in at right-back for Villa in place of Wales international Mark Delaney, out with a knee injury.
 

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We were trailing for a long time till Scholes got a quick double in the 63rd and 68th minute to win the match.

Didn't get the oppurtunity to watch the game but hopefully they'll be showing the replay sometime soon.
 

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aston villa started brightly, with howard doing well to save twice from point blank range...i felt he was a little slow off his feet for villas (deflected)goal, but a good performance none the less...

the build up to the frst goal was spectacular, great dipping ball to keane, passes it in to giggs, who does well to square it to scholes, for a simple tap in..

scholes second was a superb finish...

i was pleased the lads fought back after being down..when keane and nistelrooy came on there was a feeling of dejavu,i almost expected a victory for united..


who else here thought that the defence was particularly sloppy at the beginning..sylvestre and oshea looked very shaky, and lost possession and marked poorly a number of times
 

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Man Utd boss hails "genius" Scholes
tribalfootball.com - January 5, 2004

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson hailed Paul Scholes after yesterday's 2-1 win over Aston Villa.
United progressed to the Fourth Round of the FA Cup thanks to a Scholes double after Gareth Barry had given Villa the lead.

"Paul Scholes is a genius," gushed Ferguson. "He just ghosts into those positions and is so difficult to pick up.

"The second goal is a tremendous finish. The first was a great ball through from Nicky Butt to Ryan, and he kept his composure and rolled it on to give Paul a tap-in."

Ruud van Nistelrooy and Roy Keane stayed on the bench with United having one eye on Wednesday's match against Bolton.

"Wednesday's match is massive," Ferguson said.

"Bolton left a lot of players out of their team yesterday, so it was never my intention to start with Roy or Ruud today.

"Roy is never going to play all the games, and we have to be careful with Ruud and make sure he is available for the major ones.

"Ruud always gives you such a physical presence up front. The ball always seems to stick to him, and we are able to play from there. For 20 minutes in the second half, we played very well."
 

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Shaf said:
We were trailing for a long time till Scholes got a quick double in the 63rd and 68th minute to win the match.

Didn't get the oppurtunity to watch the game but hopefully they'll be showing the replay sometime soon.
In german TV they showed the match. A shock lead by Villa and United did almost nothing in the whole match- exept scoring the needed goals. :D
A normal win without any glance or highlights, without shining. They needed not to shine, there was no real danger to lose there.
 
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