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22 September 2017 Venue Staplewood Training Ground Attendance

Kick off 19:00 (UK)

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U23s to face European giants on Friday

Premier League International Cup campaign to get underway...

19 September 2017

With an enticing draw for the young Royals in the Premier League International Cup, the new cup campaign is set to be a valuable experience for our players who hope to break into the first team!

Following the Royals' first entry into the competition last season, our youngsters have been given another chance to shine this time around against Europe's elite, starting against Portuguese giants FC Porto behind closed doors at Southampton's Staplewood training ground on Friday evening.

With no alternative date for the Porto fixture to be played and no availability to play the match at Madejski Stadium or Adams Park because of congested fixture lists at both venues, it was agreed for the game to be played at Southampton's Staplewood ground on this occasion.

Match Reports

Loader double earns third straight win for U23s at Wolves

19 September 2017

With a dozen Premier League 2 teams mixed in with a further 12 Under-23 sides from all around Europe, it is set to be another fascinating competition as the Royals go toe-to-toe with the best that the continent has to offer, fought on English soil.

The U23s, under the guidance of new manager Scott Marshall, secured their third consecutive victory in the Premier League 2 on Monday with a successful trip to Wolves, Danny Loader's brace earning a 2-1 win.

Marshall and his side will hope to continue their 100% record under his tutelage with the arrival of the European giants on Friday. 

The six group winners will advance automatically to the quarter-finals of the competition, with the two highest-ranked runners-up making up the last eight of the tournament.

It's a glamorous draw for the young Royals, being drawn in a group alongside Arsenal and German titans Bayern Munich, with those matches set to be played in November and December.

The rules follow the structure of the Premier League 2, with Under-23 players set to make up the team with a maximum of three over-age players including a goalkeeper, if the club so chooses.

Here's the Premier League International Cup draw in full:

Group A: Sparta Prague (CZE), Liverpool (ENG), Newcastle United (ENG), PSV Eindhoven (NED)
Group B: Hertha Berlin (GER), Legia Warsaw (POL), Leicester City (ENG), Sunderland (ENG)
Group C: Derby County (ENG), Dinamo Zagreb (CRO), Everton (ENG), VfL Wolfsburg (GER)
Group D: Athletic Bilbao (SPA), Celtic FC (SCO), Manchester United (ENG), Swansea City (ENG)
Group E: Arsenal (ENG), Bayern Munich (GER), FC Porto (POR), Reading (ENG)
Group F: SL Benfica (POR), Tottenham Hotspur (ENG), Villarreal CF (SPA), West Ham United (ENG)

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Match Reports

Late Porto strikes beat spirited Royals U23s

Two late goals down the Royals in Southampton

22 September 2017

Reading's Under-23s fell to an agonising 2-0 defeat against Portuguese giants FC Porto in the Premier League International Cup on Friday night.

The Royals twice hit the woodwork in the first half, and looked the more likely to score throughout before Wenderson Galeno stroked home with nine minutes remaining to give the holders all three points.

This result looked to be harsh on a spirited Royals side, who had put in a sterling performance to hold the Portuguese side at Staplewood.

International Cup holders Porto settled straight into their rhythm in Southampton, quickly appearing to have the better of possession, with the Royals seemingly content to sit back and contain their movement.

Chances came in quick succession for the Portuguese side, but efforts from Ruben Macedo and Anderson Campos fell harmlessly wide of the post. 

The Royals began to grow into the game as the half wore on, Danny Loader finding a gap in defence to break into the box but goalkeeper Mouhamed Mbaye did well to react quickly and save.

Porto always carried a threat going forward, with full-back Luis Mata breaking with enormous speed to get away, he lobbed the committed George Legg but his effort bounced a yard wide.

Scott Marshall's side began to work away and find the gaps with increasing success, Josh Barrett flying through on goal with Mbaye stranded and appearing to handle outside the area in his attempts to block.

Two defenders had already chase back behind their goalkeeper and Barrett's effort went over both, but agonisingly hit the bar, with Loader's follow-up blocked.

The Royals soon had their second effort of the half to strike the woodwork after Sam Smith latched on to Jake Sheppard's cross, the goalkeeper was beaten but his header hit the post.

Porto started the second half quickly, as they had the first, with a lofted ball over the top leaving Pereira in on goal, before Omar Richards slid in and swept away the danger.

Reading still fought hard in midfield, with good efforts in quick succession from Barrett and Ryan East, before skipper Gabriel Osho put in a last-man tackle himself at the other end to keep the scores level.

However, the deadlock was broken just nine minutes from time with substitute Galeno getting on the end of a cross to finish and put the Royals behind.

The Royals went all out in search of the equaliser with two attacking substitutions, but it was to no avail as Pereira was brought down in the area, with the referee adjudging it to be a penalty.

The striker stepped up to take the spot kick, sending Legg the wrong way to secure the three points for Porto on the night.

Full-time: Reading U23 0-2 FC Porto B

Reading U23: Legg, Holmes, Osho (c), Andresson, Richards (Medford-Smith 61'), Rinomhota, Sheppard (Frost 87'), East, Smith, Barrett, Loader (House 82').
Unused subs: Howe, Driscoll, Holsgrove, Rollinson.

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