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Report | U23s qualify for European Quarter-Final!

2-0 victory against Jong Feyenoord secures passage to last eight

19 December 2018

Dave Edwards and Ben House were on the scoresheet as Reading's Under-23s earned a place in the Premier League International Cup on Wednesday night.

The Royals put out a side awash with first team experience, as Jón Daði Böðvarsson and Dave Edwards gained minutes on their way back from injury, alongside Omar Richards, Vito Mannone and David Meyler getting valuable match time.

Our Under-23s went into Wednesday night's game in the knowledge that victory would send them through to the last eight of the Premier League International Cup, after earning four points from their first two games.

A very experienced Reading side started the brighter of the teams, but it was two youngsters who combined to force the first chance. Ryan East picked up in his own half and sprayed a 35-yard ball to Jack Nolan on the right.

Nolan cut back onto his left foot, found Böðvarsson at the far post who headed on target, but Ramon ten Hove was able to parry around the post.

That early chance was as close as the game came to a goal in the first 15 minutes, with neither side able to break the other down. Possession was the order of the day from both sides, with the teams content keeping the ball in their own halves as the game settled into a rhythm.

Josh Barrett was brought down outside the area and managed to force a corner from the resulting free-kick. The wide-man duly delivered the corner and Edwards was there at the front post to divert at goal, ricocheting in off the goalkeeper and giving Reading the lead.

The visitors didn't offer much of an attacking threat in the first half but broke quickly to try and play in Daude van der Kust on goal - but Andre Burley did superbly to cut in and time a tackle perfectly on the edge of the box to thwart the danger.

Richards was full of running on the left, making tracks into opposition territory with a burst of pace. He then nutmegged his marker, advanced into the box, squared back to East - whose first-time shot was well saved by Ten Hove in the Feyenoord goal.

Feyenoord grew into the game towards the end of the first period, with Noah Lewis managing to play in Jari Schuurman in the box. He shot first-time but Mannone was left untroubled in the Reading goal.

Soon afterwards, a Feyenoord free-kick from 25 yards was taken by Avhraf El Bouchataoui, it was dipping but Mannone watched it carefully over the crossbar.

Reading defended well against the rising threat of the visitors, and went in at half-time a goal to the good.

Half-time | Reading U23 1-0 Jong Feyenoord

Böðvarsson and Richards were both withdrawn at the break, with both getting match minutes in their legs on the road to recovery. Ben House and Ramarni Medford-Smith stepped into the action in their place for the second half.

Edwards with substituted shortly afterwards, getting through 50 minutes on his return to action.

El Bouchataoui stood over a dangerous free-kick for the visitors just outside the Reading box. He bent it over the wall, towards goal but Mannone watched it over the bar and Reading's lead was preserved.

David Dodds, managing the side in Scott Marshall's caretaker tenure with the first team, watched on as Reading almost doubled their lead near the hour mark.

A free-kick was whipped into the area, Burley headed at goal in what looked a certain second for Reading, but for excellent reflexes from Ten Hove to push over the bar.

Mannone came to the rescue for the Royals at the other end, with the game opening up. First saving from Schuurman after a left-footed drive, before blocking from point-blank range on the line from the resulting corner.

Feyenoord pushed on, as victory for the visitors meant they would go top of Group B and put themselves in pole position for qualification to the Quarter-Finals of the tournament.

Schuurman looked dangerous in front of goal for our Dutch visitors, getting the ball in a central position in front of goal and rifling a strike that rattled Mannone's left-hand post midway through the second half.

Reading had appeals for a penalty denied when Meyler played over the top for House to chase. He danced his way into the penalty area, was bundled over but the referee adjudged a fair challenge and play continued.

The result was on a knife-edge heading into the final 10 minutes, but the Royals secured their passage into the Quarter-Finals after Michael Olise was left unmarked on the left flank.

He had time to pick his head up and put in a fantastic ball to the far post for House to head back across goal and into the bottom corner to double the lead for the young Royals.

Despite a late onslaught from their Feyenoord counterparts, the Royals held on to earn qualification to the Quarter-Finals of the Premier League International Cup as group winners!

Details of our next opponents and the date of the fixture will be confirmed in due course.

Full-time | Reading U23 2-0 Jong Feyenoord

Team P W D L Pts
Reading 3 2 1 0 7
Feyenoord 2 1 0 1 3
Leicester City 2 1 0 1 3
Sparta Prague 3 0 1 2 1

Reading U23: Mannone, Balogun, Richards (Medford-Smith HT), Odimayo, Burley, East, Meyler, Edwards (Olise 51), Nolan, Barrett, Böðvarsson (House HT).
Subs: Desbois, Pendlebury, Howe.
Goals: Edwards 19, House 81

Jong Feyenoord: Ten Hove, Reith, Lewis, Van Mullem, Knoester, Bouchataoui, Van der Kust, Gunduz, Toure (De Mooij 79), Schuurman, Vicario (Kalentjev 61).
Subs: Yates, Evora, Loshi.

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