Casemiro scored twice as Manchester United cruised past Reading to reach the fifth round of the FA Cup at Old Trafford.
After a frustrating first period for the hosts the Brazil midfielder broke the Royals’ resistance early in the second half, scooping in the first of his two goals after racing on to Antony’s incisive pass.
He doubled United’s lead four minutes later, curling in from the edge of the box after collecting Fred’s pass.
Andy Carroll was sent off for the visitors after picking up his second yellow card shortly before Fred backheeled in the hosts’ third goal from Bruno Fernandes’ cross.
While Erik ten Hag’s side had opportunities to score a fourth, substitute Amadou Mbengue headed in a consolation for Championship side Reading from Tom Ince’s corner.
Casemiro and Fred show the way in front of goal
The last of United’s 12 FA Cup triumphs came in 2016 and Ten Hag signalled the importance he is placing on this competition by selecting a strong starting XI containing just one change from their Carabao Cup semi-final first-leg win against Nottingham Forest midweek.
And there could be little doubt United deserved their victory after dominating a one-sided affair in which they initially struggled to make the breakthrough because of profligate finishing.
Winger Antony was particularly wasteful with four shots in the first half, each curling effort almost a carbon copy of the previous one, all drifting wide of the far post.
Fernandes twice dragged efforts across goal and wide, while Wout Weghorst, Christian Eriksen and Marcus Rashford all had opportunities to break the deadlock.
When United did get the ball in the back of the net VAR came to Reading’s rescue, with Netherlands forward Weghorst ruled offside before he nodded the ball in Rashford’s direction, with the England striker heading in at the back post in vain.
They were nearly made to pay on the stroke of half-time but goalkeeper David de Gea saved with his legs after Tyrell Malacia’s error presented the ball to Junior Hoilett 10 yards out.
Casemiro’s quality came to the fore after the break, using his experience and nous to deliver a wonderful finish from Antony’s pass, then adding a second before Brazil midfielder Fred provided a sprinkling of samba flair with a sublime finish to ensure a comfortable passage for United.