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Match Reports

Obita free-kick earns draw against Cercle Brugge

Royals come from behind to draw final match in Holland

22 July 2017

A sumptuous free-kick from Jordan Obita ensured the Royals earned a second draw of the day in a 1-1 stalemate against Belgian side Cercle Brugge.

Royals had fallen behind to a Guévin Tourin finish, but Obita's 25-yard strike early in the second half ensured it was honours even in Oosterbeek.

New signing Jón Dadi Böðvarsson started his first match as a Royal, playing an hour as he builds up fitness ahead of the new season.

The Royals started brightly in the first half, a cross-field ball from Liam Moore finding Chris Gunter, crossing first-time for Böðvarsson, whose header was guided just wide of the right hand post.

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Cercle responded after capitalising on a loose pass at the back, Stephen Buyl's shot expertly tipped around the post by Anssi Jaakkola.

Moore played an excellent goal-line clearance against Gençlerbirligi last time out, and repeated the feat soon after by sliding to block Gianni Bruno's effort in the box.

In an end-to-end first period, Jordan Obita intercepted a scrappy clearance, playing into the box for Adrian Popa, whose shot was palmed away for a corner by Paul Nardi in the Cercle goal.

Two new signings linked up on the edge of the Cercle box, as Böðvarsson squared for Pelle Clement to shoot, well saved to his right by Nardi.

Nardi was forced into action yet again after Böðvarsson was played in by Joey van den Berg, the Iceland striker shooting hard and low but met by the goalkeeper.

Cercle's opener came against the run of play, with an initial effort on the break parried away by Jaakkola but coolly finished on the rebound by Guévin Tourin to give the Belgian side the lead.

Our opponents opened up and played with more freedom until the end of the first half, almost doubling their advantage after Christophe Vincent beat the offside trap to receive a cross from wide, but could not keep his effort down as it sailed over the bar.

The Royals started the second half with a point to prove, going close early on with Popa crossing for van den Berg to volley from the 18-yard line, he got a good connection but couldn't direct it on target.

Soon Jaap Stam's side were on level terms, after Popa was brought down 25 yards out, Obita stepped up and perfectly placed his free-kick into the bottom corner to equalise in Oosterbeek.

The teams appeared to be evenly matched throughout proceedings in the second half, though, with possession changing hands and chances at both ends punctuating the match.

Winger Popa looked typically lively for the entire 90 minutes, fed clean through by a splitting van den Berg pass, rounding the goalkeeper and finishing but the flag went up for offside.

Royals had appeals for a penalty waved away eight minutes from time after Liam Kelly was felled in the box, but the referee was unmoved.

Our final game of pre-season will take place against Dutch top tier outfit Vitesse Arnhem at Adams Park in Wycombe on Saturday 29th July.

Reading: Jaakkola, Gunter (c), Obita, van den Berg, Ilori, Moore, Kelly, Evans, Clement, Popa, Böðvarsson (Loader, 61').

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