Reading's Under-23s were eliminated from the Premier League International Cup at the Semi Final stage, losing a tightly-contested tie 3-1 against Bayern Munich II.
Goals in the second half from Meritan Shabani and Alexander Nollenberger put a clinical Bayern side in front on the night. Tyler Frost came off the bench and pulled one back for the Royals at the death, but it wasn't enough to take the tie to extra time on the night after Derrick Kohn made sure of the result in the 96th minute.
More than 2,000 supporters were in attendance for the European Semi-Final, with the Royals starting with a side that included six graduates to our first team.
And it was Reading who started on top at Madejski Stadium, with Josh Barrett and Ramarni Medford-Smith combining on the left. The full-back overlapped and put in a low ball, that Thorben Hoffmann was able to claim.
The pair combined again shortly afterwards, Medford-Smith lofting a delightful ball over and into the box for Barrett to chase. He cushioned it and fired back across goal, narrowly behind Danny Loader - who couldn't apply the crucial touch from close range.
Bayern started to threaten on the quarter-hour mark, when Resul Turkkalesi took aim from a free-kick 30 yards out - but Coniah Boyce-Clarke watched on as it sailed well over the bar.
The young Royals did well to assert themselves in the early stages under the lights at Madejski Stadium, controlling the majority of possession and nullifying the visitors. A quick break from the back saw Loader spread to Barrett on the left, who surged forward and cut inside to shoot from the edge of the box - with Hoffmann getting a strong hand to it, palming behind for a corner.
But Bayern had the perfect chance to go in front when the referee pointed straight to the spot when Boyce-Clarke brought down the striker in red in the box. Kwasi Okyere-Wriedt, capped twice at senior level by Ghana, stepped up to take the penalty - but could only slice it well wide of the post.
Up the other end, Reading broke again and Jordan Holsgrove was the recipient in the area, firing low and hard but 32-year-old captain, Nico Feldhahn flung his body in the way to block. From the resulting corner, it was swung to the far post and Gabe Osho headed narrowly wide.
Reading kept up the pressure and Loader found himself in space 25 yards out - putting his foot through it and going very close to putting the young Royals in front.
It was a half that the Royals edged on balance of play, but the cup tie was anyone's as the teams went in at the break.
Half time | Reading U23 0-0 Bayern Munich II
Five minutes into the second half, the Royals had the ball in the back of the net - Holsgrove backheeled for Barrett in the box. He slotted into the far corner, but the flag had already gone up for offside.
Straight up the other end, however, and Bayern took the lead. The Royals played it around the back, Holmes took a heavy touch and Meritan Shabani was able to steal it, touch away from his man and coolly finish past Boyce-Clarke into the far corner. A rare lapse from the Royals that proved costly.
The game soon opened up, and when Holsgrove manoeuvred around the back of the Bayern defence, he played low into the path of Loader. The striker touched and fired high, and only just wide as the Royals looked to respond immediately.
Ben House was soon introduced for Holmes on the hour mark, prompting a switch to a more attacking formation from the Royals.
Reading were in the ascendency, pressing at every opportunity. Barrett spread to Teddy Howe, who cut back onto his left to play it back to the winger, who rather swiped at his strike as it floated wide.
Bayern, sensing the danger, made a pair of defensive changes as they aimed to protect their slender advantage. The visitors were taking all the time they were allowed over throw-ins and set pieces, looking to take the momentum out of Reading's performance.
Time ticked on and the game grew more fractious, with tackles flying in from both sides as the physicality in the match increased. Bayern captain Feldhahn used his strength to power into the Reading area and shoot, but Boyce-Clarke was equal to it and tipped over.
Into the final minutes and Reading pushed ever harder for the equaliser. Barrett was played through in the area once more, not getting a proper connection as his cross-goal shot fizzed wide.
But three minutes from time, Bayern secured their passage to the Final with a fine goal. A quick counter saw Alexander Nollenberger curl a sublime strike into the top corner from 25 yards after cutting onto his right foot. Not many goalkeepers in the professional game would have had much hope of saving that effort.
But in the final minute of stoppage time, Tyler Frost fired home a powerful volley in the area to give Reading faint hope of a leveller in the dying moments.
Those hopes were unfortunately extinguished with the final kick of the game, as Derrick Kohn cleverly chipped over Boyce-Clarke to send the Germans through on the night.
It was a valiant performance on the night from Reading, one they feel they may have won on a different occasion, but they could hold their heads high after a superb run in the Premier League International Cup.
Full time | Reading U23 1-3 Bayern Munich II
Reading U23: Boyce-Clarke, Howe, Medford-Smith, Holmes (House 61), Osho (c), McIntyre, Coleman (Frost 74), Holsgrove, Olise (Pendlebury 82), Barrett, Loader.
Subs: Roberts, Odimayo, Liddle.
Goals: Frost (90+4)
Bayern Munich II: Hoffmann, Feldhahn, Rochelt, Wriedt (Lange 90+2), Frankze (Nollenberger 66), Senkbiel, Shabani, Awoudia, Turkkalesi, Kohn, Zirkzee (Welzmuller 66).
Subs: Wagner, Yilmaz, Mayer, Zaiser.
Goals: Shabani (51), Nollenberger (87), Kohn (90+6)