FA Cup - Semi-Final
Reading1Arsenal2

Reading 1-2 Arsenal

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FA Cup: Reading 1-2 Arsenal highlights
  • Sanchez puts Arsenal ahead in first half
  • McCleary equaliser takes game to extra-time
  • Goalkeeper Federici spills Sanchez shot for winner
  • Arsenal to play Aston Villa or Liverpool in Wembley final

Holders Arsenal reached a record 19th FA Cup final after two goals from Alexis Sanchez sealed victory over Reading in extra-time.

Sanchez gave the Premier League side a 39th-minute lead from close range before Garath McCleary volleyed home an equaliser shortly after the break.

Reading needed the post and keeper Adam Federici to keep the scores level as the game required an extra 30 minutes to decide the outcome.

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FA Cup: Sanchez fires Gunners ahead

The Australian keeper was at fault as Sanchez's effort spilled through his grasp and rolled in and although Reading pushed for an equaliser Arsenal held on.

The Gunners will now face the winners of Sunday's other semi-final between Aston Villa and Liverpool (15:00 BST kick-off) as they look to lift a record 12th FA Cup.

Their hopes of the double continue to look unrealistic though, with Chelsea recording a potentially defining 1-0 victory over Manchester United in the Premier League.

Sanchez has 22 goals this season since his summer arrival from Barcelona and, with 36 places separating these two sides, he was the difference at a sunny Wembley.

The first half went to form with Arsenal dominating their Championship opposition and enjoying 74% possession.

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FA Cup: McCleary levels for Reading

Per Mertesacker had seen his early header from Mesut Ozil's corner well saved by Federici, low to his left, and at the other end Jordan Obita's fierce half-volley from 25 yards was straight at Wojciech Szczesny.

Reading forward Jamie Mackie was unlucky to have been ruled offside when clean through before Arsenal scored the opener.

Ozil unlocked the Royals' defence with a wonderful pass to Sanchez, who, after controlling and turning inside, prodded past Federici from close range.

Reading levelled nine minutes after the break with McCleary volleying home Pavel Pogrebnyak's cross from six yards. Although Szczesny got to the ball, goal-line technology confirmed it had crossed the line

Federici, who would later leave the pitch in tears, produced a wonderful one-handed save to claw out Gabriel's header as Arsenal looked to get themselves back in front against a Reading side who were growing in confidence.

Szczesny nearly made a mess of Nathaniel Chalobah's shot from distance, palming it away to safety, while Aaron Ramsey missed a glorious chance to put the Gunners ahead by striking the post from within the six-yard box with only a man on the line to beat.

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FA Cup: Federici blunder gifts Gunners lead

Pogrebnyak wasted good territory when Reading found themselves two-on-one as the game became increasingly stretched but neither side could find a winner as it headed into extra time.

Ramsey's low shot from 25 yards was saved by Federici, who was lucky to see it rebound off him and over the bar. However, the Australian was at fault just before the end of the first period of extra time.

Sanchez's shot took a slight deflection and the keeper fumbled the ball through his legs as it crossed the line.

Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud hit the post with eight minutes remaining and although Reading pumped several balls into the Gunners' box, they never looked like finding an equaliser as their first FA Cup semi-final since 1927 ended in heartbreak.

Alexis Sanchez
Alexis Sanchez has now scored 22 goals in all competitions for Arsenal this season
Garath McCleary
Garath McCleary's only other Reading goal this season came in the 3-0 quarter-final replay win v Bradford
Reading
Reading had not won in their previous five Championship games before this FA Cup semi-final
Reading
Reading, 19th in the Championship, were playing a Premier League team for the first time in their FA Cup run
Reading
Reading were playing in the semi-final of the FA Cup for only the second time in their history
Adam Federici
Goalkeeper Adam Federici was making his 232nd appearance for Reading

Line-ups

Reading

  • 1Federici
  • 2Gunter
  • 15Hector
  • 5Pearce
  • 11Obita
  • 12McCleary
  • 23Williams
  • 14ChalobahBooked at 45minsSubstituted forCoxat 105'minutes
  • 9Robson-KanuSubstituted forKaracanat 90'minutes
  • 19Mackie
  • 7PogrebnyakSubstituted forAiyegbeniat 111'minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Kelly
  • 6Norwood
  • 10Cox
  • 20Aiyegbeni
  • 21Karacan
  • 31Andersen
  • 35Cooper

Arsenal

  • 1Szczesny
  • 2Debuchy
  • 4MertesackerSubstituted forGabrielat 63'minutesBooked at 108mins
  • 6Koscielny
  • 3Gibbs
  • 34CoquelinSubstituted forWalcottat 101'minutes
  • 19Cazorla
  • 16Ramsey
  • 11Özil
  • 17Sánchez
  • 23WelbeckSubstituted forGiroudat 72'minutes

Substitutes

  • 5Gabriel
  • 10Wilshere
  • 12Giroud
  • 13Ospina
  • 14Walcott
  • 18Monreal
  • 20Flamini
Referee:
Martin Atkinson
Attendance:
84,081

Match Stats

Home TeamReadingAway TeamArsenal
Possession
Home28%
Away72%
Shots
Home12
Away23
Shots on Target
Home4
Away9
Corners
Home4
Away7
Fouls
Home20
Away8

Live Text

Match ends, Reading 1, Arsenal 2.

Second Half Extra Time ends, Reading 1, Arsenal 2.

Attempt blocked. Olivier Giroud (Arsenal) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Theo Walcott (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Daniel Williams (Reading).

Offside, Reading. Jem Karacan tries a through ball, but Jamie Mackie is caught offside.

Attempt missed. Daniel Williams (Reading) right footed shot from long range on the left is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Simon Cox.

Foul by Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal).

Chris Gunter (Reading) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Olivier Giroud (Arsenal) hits the left post with a left footed shot from the left side of the box. Assisted by Mesut Özil.

Substitution

Substitution, Reading. Yakubu replaces Pavel Pogrebnyak.

Booking

Gabriel Paulista (Arsenal) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Gabriel Paulista (Arsenal).

Daniel Williams (Reading) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt missed. Mesut Özil (Arsenal) left footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Alexis Sánchez.

Attempt missed. Jamie Mackie (Reading) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Simon Cox.

Second Half Extra Time begins Reading 1, Arsenal 2.

Substitution

Substitution, Reading. Simon Cox replaces Nathaniel Chalobah.

First Half Extra Time ends, Reading 1, Arsenal 2.

Goal!

Goal! Reading 1, Arsenal 2. Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal) right footed shot from the left side of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Mesut Özil.

Attempt blocked. Pavel Pogrebnyak (Reading) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked.

Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Adam Federici.

Attempt saved. Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Mesut Özil.

Substitution

Substitution, Arsenal. Theo Walcott replaces Francis Coquelin.

Offside, Arsenal. Francis Coquelin tries a through ball, but Olivier Giroud is caught offside.

Francis Coquelin (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Pavel Pogrebnyak (Reading).

Corner, Reading. Conceded by Francis Coquelin.

Attempt missed. Santiago Cazorla (Arsenal) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Alexis Sánchez.

First Half Extra Time begins Reading 1, Arsenal 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Reading 1, Arsenal 1.

Attempt saved. Olivier Giroud (Arsenal) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Santiago Cazorla.

Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Jem Karacan (Reading).

Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Chris Gunter.

Substitution

Substitution, Reading. Jem Karacan replaces Hal Robson-Kanu.

Attempt missed. Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Kieran Gibbs.

Attempt saved. Pavel Pogrebnyak (Reading) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal) hits the left post with a left footed shot from the left side of the six yard box.

Attempt saved. Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Olivier Giroud.

goal

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Saturday 18th April 2015

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