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🏆 Five years ago | Wembley memories from an historic, emotional FA Cup semi-final

The occasion, the ecstasy, the heartbreak, the pride...

18 April 2020

Just looking at these images, makes your blood run blue and white. It ended in defeat, but it made memories which we won't want to forget.

Five years on and the emotion is still raw for so many Royals fans. The overwhelming sense of occasion of our first semi-final since 1927, the elation of seeing Garath McCleary score past Arsenal at Wembley, the heartbreak of defeat in extra-time and the agonising manner in which it was inflicted, the sheer pride in the players who took Arsenal all the way and beyond in search of a place in the FA Cup Final...

On a glorious blue-skied day in the capital, Reading were certainly the underdogs going into a semi-final against Arsene Wenger's Gunners.

Reading fans swarmed down Wembley Way and created a blue and white half to our national stadium, a warming sight for the eleven men who took to the field to face the might of an Arsenal side including stars such as Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey, Santi Cazorla and Danny Welbeck. Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott even came off the bench!

The Royals matched their opponents' every move though and reslilently bounced back from an opening goal from Sanchez to equalise through Garath McCleary - a moment all Royals fans will remember.

We had to weather Arsenal attacking surges but the Royals had their chances to win it as our confidence grew and grew, before in extra-time the Chilean forward scored a fortunate second and our unlikely cup dream was fianlly over. It was so cruel on Reading. But Royals fans left Wembley so proud of their side.

And if these magnificent photos from five years ago today don't make you miss football even more, we don't know what will.

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