Reading 0-2 Manchester City
Man City 2 (Augero 40, Dzeko 87)
A star studded Manchester City side took all three points from a rain sodden Madejski Stadium on Tuesday evening.
Despite a man of the match performance from Alex McCarthy, the managerless men from Manchester took a lead into half time as a slick passing move was finished off by Sergio Aguero.
Reading did rally after the break, with Adrian Mariappa seeing a header cleared off the line and Jem Karacan testing Joe Hart – before Edin Dzeko had the last say on a season of top flight football in Berkshire as he coolly slotted home from close range.
Royals: McCarthy; Gunter, Morrison, Mariappa, Kelly; Karacan, Guthrie; McCleary, McAnuff (C) (Blackman 69), Robson-Kanu; Pogrebnyak (Le Fondre 62)
Subs: Taylor, Pearce, Harte, Carrico, Akpan, Blackman, Le Fondre.
City: Hart; Richards (C), Clichy, K.Toure (Maicon 15), Lescott; Milner, Y.Toure, Barry (Garcia 58), Silva, Tevez, Aguero (Dzeko 62)
Subs: Pantilimon, Maicon, Kolarov, Garvia, Nasri, Rodwell, Dzeko.
Booked: Barry (Foul 36)
Attendance: 22,859 (1,297)
Alex McCarthy had picked up second place in the club’s player of the season awards before kick-off, and immediately showed why – palming away smartly from Sergio Aguero within the first five minutes.
Not content with those early heroics the young stopper then denied James Milner, before Aguero’s follow up cannoned off Sean Morrison and away from danger.
There was an early blow for last year’s Champions however, as Kolo Toure limped off with injury – to be replaced by Maicon.
Hal Robson-Kanu, another Royal voted into player of the season contention, looked to switch the emphasis towards the home side as he cut in from the left wing – but saw his long range effort held by Joe Hart.
On the opposite flank Garath McCleary also got in on the act, crashing a shot towards goal which was too hot to handle for Hart – who deflected the ball away from danger.
And at the other end – McCarthy continued to work wonders, pulling off a miraculous save from Tevez which was only slightly spoiled by the appearance of an offside flag.
Morrison showed equal agility to block an effort five minutes from time, before managerless City eventually took the lead moments later.
A neat spate of passing gave Aguero a golden chance ten yards from goal, and the Argentinean international made no mistake.
The City striker could have had a brace a minute later, but again McCarthy was alert to tip away his 25 yard drive.
The second period almost started with a bang for the Royals, as a superb cross from the right was met by a stooping header from Pogrebnyak – only for Hart stand tall and block well.
Not to be out done, McCarthy then flew low to his right to tip Yaya Toure’s daisy cutter around the post.
The hour mark signalled the introduction of player of the season Adam Le Fondre, who replaced Pogrebnyak to great acclaim from the home support.
With 18 minutes remaining Toure again attempted to get the better of the man between the Reading sticks, but another sizzling range finder from the Ivorian was again tipped over the bar.
Minutes later Morrison rose well to nod a free-kick into the danger zone, only to see England international Joleon Lescott position himself well to clear away.
Adkins’ men were stepping up the tempo; Guthrie’s corner was met well by Mariapa, but more goalline heroics, this time from Tevez, saved the day for the visitors.
With their tails up, another brisk passing move was instigated all the way back with McCarthy – with the ball eventually working its way to Karacan 20 yards from the City goal, who saw his shot well dealt with by Hart.
But City’s team full of start don’t come without their killer instinct – and the game was rounded off in the dying stages by substitute Dzeko.
The clinical Bosnian found space in the box before showing great composure to slot home and seal three points for the men in red.
There was still time for man of the match McCarthy to again showcase his supreme shot stopping to deny Tevez before referee Martin Atkinson’s whistle brought an end to a season of Premier League football at Madejski Stadium.