Goalkeeper on dramatic win against FulhamAn incident packed-match at Madejski Stadium ended in dramatic fashion… it was Ali Al-Habsi whose name was ringing around the ground as he pulled off a 90th-minute penalty save to deny Fulham a share of the points!
Reading had gone ahead through Roy Beerens – who reacted quickest to John Swift’s saved spot-kick – but Chris Martin had a chance to level in the final throes after former Royal Lucas Piazon tumbled in the box.
But Al-Habsi’s save from the Fulham forward ensured that the Royals took the points that a fluid and entertaining display deserved.
“It was a very big moment – I think the players and the team deserved it, especially after the amount of effort that was put in across the 90 minutes,” said Ali. “I think the way we performed tonight was fantastic.
“We know that Fulham are a very good team, who try to pass the ball – but the way we finished the game is how we wanted.
“Of course it was a big moment for me, but all the players and the fans – everyone in the stadium today – deserved it.
“I just tried to concentrate – everyone had 100% concentration for the game today. And for the save I have watched videos of their taker before the game and trying to read how he will take the penalty.
“We’ve not just pleased about the three points, but the clean sheet as well. We haven’t had one for a while and we know that clean sheets aren’t just about me, they’re about the team. I think we worked really hard.”
The win was all the more important for keeping the likes of Fulham at arm’s length – the Cottagers could have scrambled to within three points of Reading, but a Royals win extends our advantage to nine points over the West London club and elevates us back to third in the table.
“We needed this win because we lost the last two in the league against QPR and Derby, and that’s why it was a big win,” Ali continued.
“We are third in the table and we know that the coming games will be even harder. But we take it game after game and this is a game we really needed to win. With a fantastic win and a clean sheet, we’ll have a great night.
“Both teams played fantastic football – it’s probably the two teams in the team with the most control over the game. In these kinds of games, small chances can make the difference. We took our chance with the rebound to the penalty.
“Today’s game is more about the desire and the way we want to get back to winning ways. We are so pleased – we will enjoy it tonight, and tomorrow is another day. We have to get ready for Cardiff now.”
The team are getting ready for Cardiff... make sure you're getting ready to come and play your part too! It's another massive Madejski Stadium match, and a chance to register our 10th home win in the Championship in 2016/17 - click here to find out all the info you need about tickets for the game.