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Match Reports

Report | U23s overcome Man Utd in Europe

Loader hat-trick sends young Royals through to last four

26 February 2019

Danny Loader earned himself the match ball as Reading's Under-23s made it through to the last four of the Premier League International Cup.

Loader's strikes earned the Royals a fantastic 3-1 win over Manchester United at Leigh Sports Village on Monday night, putting Scott Marshall's side into the semi-finals of the European competition.

The 18-year-old attacker, who has made 12 senior appearances for the Royals this season, was in fine form as he fired Reading to victory against the Red Devils.

Loader showed tenacity to put the Royals in front early in the first half, chasing the ball down and intercepting in the United box, before rounding goalkeeper Matej Kovar and slotting in.

And the Reading striker would have his second of the night midway through the first period, after Josh Barrett cut in from the left-hand side and played in Loader, who shimmied onto his right foot and struck - with a deflection helping the ball past Kovar and doubling the Royals' advantage.

Despite producing a dominant performance in the first half, United had a lifeline after they were awarded a penalty just before the interval, which Dylan Levitt duly dispatched to halve the deficit.

Ricky Sbragia's side thought they had levelled the match when Aidan Barlow followed up and scored a rebound from Largie Ramazani's initial strike, but the flag was raised for offside and Reading kept their advantage.

In a second half where both sides went toe-to-toe, Reading came out on top as Loader topped off a superb victory from the spot 10 minutes from time at Leigh Sports Village.

The young Royals are still in the thick of four competitions this season, keeping up their challenge in the Premier League 2, Division 2, alongside a semi-final to look forward to in the Berks & Bucks Senior Cup, as well as a last 16 tie yet to be drawn in the Premier League Cup.

The U23s are back in league action on Friday evening, taking on league leaders Southampton at Staplewood, 7pm kick-off.

European opposition could await the Royals in the semi-finals of the International Cup, with the draw to be made in due course.

Full-time | Manchester United U23 1-3 Reading U23 

Manchester United U23: Kovar, O'Connor, Ercolani, Bernard, B. Williams (Tanner 76), Barlow, Traore (Stanley 72), Levitt, Ramazani, Burkart (Galbraith 62), Bohui.
Subs: Fojticek, Stanley, Olosunde.
Goals: Levitt 42 (P)

Reading U23: Boyce-Clark, Balogun, Holmes, Burley, Green, East (c), Holsgrove (Liddle 76), Olise, Barrett, Frost, Loader.
Subs: Desbois, Odimayo, Lawless, Pendlebury, Rollinson.
Goals: Loader 12, 26, 78 (P)

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