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📓 Match report | Morrison and Joao make it three wins from three

The perfect start continues with a fine performance from back to front

26 September 2020

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Another outstanding performance earned the Royals three points in Cardiff this afternoon - courtesy of two second half goals from Michael Morrison and Lucas Joao.

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A brisk by blue-skied afternoon in Wales began cagily with both sides pressing high and fast in an attempt to earn the early control. The first half chance fell to the towering Kieffer Moore who chested down a long throw that had been flicked on to him and shot on the turn only for Omar Richards to get an important block in.

Reading's first sight of goal was a fleeting one. Moore played a perfectly weighted aerial ball forward which Meite managed to watch drop over his shoulder and sandwiched between two defenders direct a header towards goal. Goalkeeper Alex Smithies saved low in the centre of his goal.

A couple of clever backheels from Olise and then Joao nearly set up a shooting opportunity for Ejaria, but he was shuffled away from goal and the danger fizzled out with 20 minutes gone.

Former Royal Leandro Bacuna dragged a shot wide soon after, connecting with a low cut back cross from Moore but hooking his effort wide of the target without troubling Rafael.

Olise had appeals for a penalty waved away when he darted into the box but had his run cut short by a barge from Morrison inside the Cardiff area.

And Olise turned provider with five minutes of the half remaining, delivering a pacy corner that Joao glanced towards goal but wide of the right post.

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Moments later, Reading came even closer. Joao did brilliantly to turn Morrison who held onto the Royals striker to prevent him getting into the box. The referee allowed play to go on and Joao turned the ball onto his left boot and drilled a low effort that Smithies did well to turn around his post.

The Royals were knocking at the door and Ejaria did well to find some space down the right side of the Cardiff box only for his pull back to evade the right boot of Joao who was looking to turn it goalwards in the middle.

And before the interval, a deep ball from Moore floated over Morrison and Joao so nearly got a toe to it before it could bounce up and into the arms of Smithies.

Half-time: Cardiff City 0-0 Reading

Only a minute into the second half and Reading had the lead they deserved.

A worked set piece move saw Richards dummy an inswinging free kick from the left and Olise instead stepped up to swing the ball in with his left foot. Michael Morrison launched himself at the ball and directed an unstoppable header past Smithies for 1-0.

Will Vaulks came within a whisker of levelling, drilling a low right-footed effort an inch wide of the bottom left corner with Rafael helpless to do anything about it.

Morrison was causing problems in the City area again from a free kick from the centre circle, winning a corner as Cardiff hacked the ball behind at the first opportunity. 

A jinking run from Joao looked to be ended by a trip on the edge of the area as we approached the hour mark - but nothing was awarded. Then Araruna delivered a good looking cross that nearly picked out the Royals striker in the middle.

Araruna had to make way soon after with a nasty lookign injury - Tom Holmes coming on in his place on the right side of defence.

It took a superb reaction save from Rafael to prevent Bacuna's heavily deflected shot from skidding past him - the Brazilian stuck out his leg to save after the low drive had flown off the foot of Morrison. Hoilett's follow up effort sailed just over the top right corner and Reading retained their slender lead.

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And the cushion was doubled with 25 minutes remaining. Josh Laurent in space on the left side slid the ball into the feet of Joao who held off Curtis Nelson, turned back onto hie left foot and stabbed the ball past Smithies to set the Cardiff net rippling.

Reading were starting to enjoy themselves, but Cardiff continuted to look for a route back into the game and Rafael did well to get down and save a deflected Osei-Tutu effort with 15 minutes remaining.

And the hosts had a lifeline when with nine minutes of the ninety remaining Moore's header was cleared off the line by a combination of Rafael and Rinomhota - only for substitute Lee Tomlin to squeeze the rebound home off the post from a matter of yards out.

Another fabulous run from Lucas Joao to the edge of the box was ended with a clumsy tackle but again no free kick was awarded. And more concerningly, Joao had to leave the field with what looked like an injured shoulder - George Puscas replaced him.

Coming under a lot of pressure now and with injuries havign taken their toll - nine minutes of injury time were signalled as the ninetieth came to an end.

Reading played a period near the corner flag to eat up some of that added time and then Olise superbly escaped his marker to scurry along the byline and test Smithies with a low drive that the Bluebirds keeper held on to.

And showing amazing reslience, the Royals soaked up the pressure and repelled every long throw and cross into the box that came their way.

Three wins from three - and this arguably the most impressive of the lot!

Full-time: Cardiff City 1-2 Reading

Cardiff City: Smithies, Osei-Tutu, Morrison (c), Vaulks (Tomlin 61), Bacuna, Nelson, Cunningham (Murphy 90), Pack, Ojo, Hoilett (Glatzel 74), Moore.
Unused subs: Day, Whyte, Bamba, Bagan.
Yellow: Hoilett, Moore.
Goals: Tomlin (81)

Reading:
Rafael, Araruna (Holmes 61), Richards, Moore, Morrison, Rinomhota, Laurent, Olise, Ejaria, Meite (McIntyre 78), Joao (Puscas 86).
Unused subs: Southwood, Gibson, Baldock, Aluko.
Yellow: Olise
Goals: Morrison (47), Joao (65)


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