Friday May 13, 2011 Semifinal Finished Madejski Stadium

  1. Reading held by Cardiff in first leg

    Reading held by Cardiff in first leg

    Reading were held to a 0-0 draw by Cardiff City in the first leg of their Championship play-off semi-final at the Madejski Stadium. More

  • Live Commentary

    Time:90'
    • Reading
    • Cardiff City
    • 90+6' The final whistle goes, and it ends goalless. After a high tempo first half, the match went down a few gears after the break, but you can bet that won't be the case in Cardiff next week when this tie is decided!
    • 90+5' Another corner for Reading, and Bywater comes out to claim it with authority.
    • 90+4' Long does well to sneak his way down the right wing. He gets his cross in and it's played back to Manset... The substitute didn't attack the ball when surely any touch would have tested Bywater!
    • 90+3' McAnuff strides over to take a corner. Both centre-backs come up for Reading. The delivery is not great and Reading will have to make do with a throw.
    • 90+2' Cardiff substitution: Jason Koumas replaces Emmanuel-Thomas.
    • 90' Five minutes of added time is signaled by the fourth official. Plenty of time for someone to break the deadlock.
    • 89' Keinan is now being looked at after a hefty collision. Seems both sides will settle for the draw this evening. Wonder how much of a part the lack of no away goals rule plays in that?
    • 88' Emmanuel-Thomas juggles on the edge of the box after Bothroyd's header, but a Reading defender gets a vital toe in before the on-loan Arsenal man can strike.
    • 87' e.w.evans asks: "who do u want to go up mr commentater" - Obviously I am completely impartial but, purely in terms of the football they play, it would be nice to see Swansea go up. But any side would add something to the Premier League, I feel.
    • 86' So, with some more fresh legs on the pitch, are we going to see this match end with a bang rather than a whimper?
    • 85' Cardiff substitution: Lee Naylor replaces Quinn.
    • 84' Reading substitution: Brian Howard replaces Hunt.
    • 83' Not only is Emmanuel-Thomas down after turning on his ankle awkwardly, but now Quinn is receiving treatment too.
    • 82' Emmanuel-Thomas slips over as he heads for goal. Not another Cardiff player requiring attention, surely?
    • 81' Play is going from end-to-end now. Harte claims a corner off Quinn, but the Irishman had given his opposing full-back a bit of a shove and Cardiff have the free-kick.
    • 80' Burke gets his foot right around and gets a great cross in, but again Bothroys is not able to get a header on to it.
    • 78' Another Reading corner comes in and Mills has all the space he needs to attack the set piece, but it's just over his head. How was he given all that space? A let-off for Cardiff.
    • 76' Feel as though the kiss of death was put on this game when I said to expect goals before kick-off! The way the game started though, you wouldn't have bet against it. Still, there are 15 minutes left for someone to step up and make themselves a hero.
    • 75' The free-kick is floated in from deep and Federici comes early but misses the ball. Emmanuel-Thomas's flick-on just evades the waiting Bothroyd.
    • 74' Solid tackle from Keinan on Manset wins Reading a throw. A decent cross comes in for Long but again Bywater can claim it. McAnuff brings down Burke as Cardiff vuild an attack. The Reading midfielder is on a booking, so has to watch his step.
    • 72' Adam A sees the yin and the yang of the play-offs: "There is no doubt the play off system is poor. If the­ bootom three go straight down then the top three should­ come straight up, simple. Mind you if that was used we­ would have missed out on the likes of Blackpool in the­ prem, who have been great fun to watch this year."
    • 71' Reading come again and Manset tries to drill a strike in from range but doesn't catch it cleanly and Bywater can make a regulation stop.
    • 70' Reading break down the right through Hunt, who beats his man beofre trying to pick out Long with a low cross that is intercepted.
    • 69' The corner eventually coems in after a spot of argy-bargy in the box. Keinan heads it right at Federici.
    • 68' Burke rides a tackle and plays out wide to Emmanuel-Thomas. Bothroyd holds the ball up well before Emmanuel-Thomas wins a corner.
    • 67' Emmanuel-Thomas is back in the groove now, slinking through before chipping the ball in for Bothroyd. Federici can collect the ball though.
    • 66' The ball runs across Whittingham and he has to dodge the referee beofre letting fly with a strike that flies wide of the far post! He did well to get that away under the circumstances.
    • 65' Emmanuel-Thomas dinks a smart ball in for Chopra, who handles as he tries to bring it down inside the box. Referee plays advantage as Reading win the ball back.
    • 63' Someone calling themsleves ah! is not getting into the play-off spirit: "These play offs are a farce. Forest with 75 points­ could go up instead of Swansea with 80, or in league 1­ Bournemouth with 71 instead of Huddersfield with 87. It­ makes a mockery of the seasons hard won results. It's just a money making scam for the league­ administrators­" Ah, humbug!
    • 62' Hoisted high by Harte and Keinan nods away for a throw-in. Long plays it back to Harte, whose cross drifts out of play before it reaches a team-mate in the box.
    • 61' Olofinjana concedes a free-kick in a central area, some 30 yards from the Cardiff goal. Let's see what Harte does with this... Floated to the right-hand side and Olofinjana atones for his error by clearing. Reading keep the pressure on though and win a corner.
    • 60' Chopra was just coming back from an offside position when he received Bothroyd's stab forward.
    • 59' Long puts in a decent cross but McAnuff can't steer his header on target.
    • 58' Emmanuel-Thomas has had a couple of loose touches in the last few minutes. No doubt Arsene Wenger will be watching.
    • 57' Mills is up in the Cardiff box again, but the ball into the box is gathered by Bywater.
    • 56' Bothroyd gets a hard knock on the foot from Long's tackle. The striker goes down in pain but he is soon back on his feet.
    • 55' The tempo has slowed a bit since Robson-Kanu went off. Cardiff look as though they may come out of this passage of play on top.
    • 54' Bothroyd flicks Bywater's long punt into Chopra's path, but it's just too far in front of the substitute.
    • 53' Interesting idea from garyhoe: "Play offs should involve third from bottom in Premier­ with 3rd, 4th and 5th placed teams in Championship.­ Only two were relegated from the old Division One when­ there were 22 teams competiting. Give the teams that go­ up a better chance a survival!" Seem to recall Charlton staying in the top flight after a play-off with second divsion Leeds back in the late 1980s.
    • 52' Reading substitution: Mathieu Manset replaces Robson-Kanu. Manset scored what he thought was the winner in that crazy 2-2 draw with Cardiff earlier in the campaign.
    • 51' Robson-Kanu is also down now. It looks like the long season is catching up with a few of these players.
    • 50' McNaughton is receiving treatment after being caught innocuously by Mills's boot. Cardiff don't need any more injuries after losing Bellamy in the first half.
    • 49' Harte's corner headed back across the six-yard box by Long and Mills can't get a touch with an outstretched boot! The Reading skipper goes close again!
    • 48' Blake digs out a decent cross which Cardiff repel but Karacan wins the Royals the first corner of the second half. Mills and Khizanishvili both come up for it.
    • 47' A teasing cross comes into the Reading box but Bothroyd can't get his header on target.
    • 46' Reading get the second half underway!
    • 45+3' The half-time whistle ends a frenetic 45 minutes, but still we await our first play-off goal. Keep your comments coming in, either below or via @tony_mabert on Twitter, and I'll see you for the second half.
    • 45+2' McAnuff cuts in from the byline on the left, stumbles but stays on his feet and his solidly hit low cross is steered wide by Hunt!
    • 45+1' We are in the first of two minutes to be added at the end of the half. Darcy Blake gets in ahead of Hunt and Reading have a throw in the final third.
    • 45' The ball is played into Hunt's path and he surges for goal, only to let a poor touch on the run see him tackled. Reading come again and McAnuff is one-on-one but fires over! Fortunately for him, it turrns out, the flag was up for offside.
    • 44' Khizanishvili gets to Bothroyd's nod-down before Burke but at the expense of a corner. The Georgian heads the set piece clear.
    • 43' chris has a way of shaking up the play-offs: "To make play-offs fairer, 6th place should play 5th,­ the winner of that then plays 4th and the winner of­ that then plays 3rd. This would ensure 3rd place has a­ better chance than 4th and 4th has a better than 5th or­ 6th The latter two positions should work harder to­ prove that they are worthy to hang with the big boys in­ the league above!" What do you reckon? If it ain't broke, don't fix it I say.
    • 42' Now Long and Karacan get in each other's way as they both try to get an effort in on goal. Goal kick to the visitors.
    • 41' Chopra crowded out on the edge of the Reading box and fouls as he fights to regain possession. Keinan and Bywater collide, resulting in a Reading throw.
    • 40' Convey writes in to say: "Play offs should be allowed gives teams who might be­ out of reach to get to 1st place but are in reach of­ 5th place something to play for it would make the leage­ alot more boring if the top 3 always went through plus­ it's a test to see if a team is ready for the­ premier leage."
    • 39' Bothroyd penalised for handball and now he gets a booking, presumably for dissent following the decision. The majority of fans inside the Madejski show their appreciation.
    • 38' McNaughton is fouled late by Mills and the Reading captain gets a booking. Some real needle creeping into this match now.
    • 37' Reading incensed by two decision from the officials which conspire to deny McAnuff a chance through on goal. Karacan was aught by a late tackle but then a Reading player was flagged for offside.
    • 36' Audacious attempt at a backheel on goal by Robson-Kanu after he met Jem Karacan's cross at the near post! Bywater reacts quickly to save and tip it round the post!
    • 35' Long has come ove rto the left wing now and McNaughton has follwoed him all the way. The Reading striker manages to turn his man and play the ball across, but Cardiff have got back in numbers and kill the move.
    • 34' Hunt strays offside after strong, determined play by Robson-Kanu.
    • 32' Great ball across from Robson-Kanu as he stabs it across with the outside of his left boot. The cross is deflected away by McNaughton and Olofinjana completes the clearance. The tide very much turning in Reading's favour now.
    • 31' Long beats McNaughton with a fair shoulder to shoulder challenge as they chase a long ball, but the Irishman is penalised harshly for a foul.
    • 30' All getting a bit scrappy in midfield at the moment. Seyi Olofinjana gives the ball away cheaply with a poor pass.
    • 29' Mills chips a ball down the right channel for Long to chase, but he catches Blake with a high boot.
    • 27' Word from the Cardiff camp is that Bellamy's withdrawal was more of a precaution than a necessity, but that won't stop Dave Jones fretting over his presence for the second leg.
    • 26' Reading's Jobi McAnuff gets the game's first booking. The Cardiff free-kick is launched forward from the halfway line by McNaughton and Federici comes off his line to claim it well.
    • 25' We are midway through the first half and there is plenty of huff and puff from both sides, but no one has yet fashioned a gilt-edged chance.
    • 24' Bothroyd is putting in a shift all right, as he tracks back to help snuff out a Reading attack and wins a free-kick.
    • 23' Reader waseenmahmoody says: "I don't agree with these play offs, I seriously­ feel that the top three should just go through as they­ earned the points and the right." Agree or disagree? Have your say below.
    • 22' Whittingham's strike hits the wall and it eventually ends up in Federici's hands.
    • 21' Khizanishvili upends Bothroyd and Cardiff have another dead ball in Whittingham's range. Emmanuel-Thomas is also lurking with intent...
    • 20' Madejski is sat in the director's box, flanked by the parents of royal bride Kate Middleton. So nice to see him taking time to fraternise with the commoners.
    • 19' Great hold-up play from Long and he slips it through to strike partner Noel Hunt... Blazed over the bar from range!
    • 18' Bothroyd wins a free-kick for Cardiff off Leigertwood. Whittingham fires in a decent ball but Khizanishvili heads clear before Bothroyd can meet it.
    • 17' Cardiff substitution: Michael Chopra replaces Bellamy. Let's see if he is fit for the return fixture on Tuesday.
    • 16' Bellamy looks in need of some attention. He is feeling his hamstring and tells keeper Bywater to kick the ball out of play. This is a major blow for Cardiff if he has to come off.
    • 15' Great high tempo start to this game, as you'd expect. This is why the Championship play-offs are so often one of the highlights of the season. Reading win a free-kick, from deep on the right this time. Harte fires in low to Long on the edge of the box, but he can't bring the ball under his spell.
    • 14' Harte whips in a devilish cross and Bywater comes and completely misses the ball, which flies right under the nose of Matt Mills! The Reading skipper only needed a touch!
    • 13' Reading don't clear the corner and Bothroyd's cross from inside the area is punched well clear by Federici. Reading go up the other end and win a corner of their own.
    • 12' That's a great ball pinged up to Bellamy from Whittingham. Khizanishvili is caught one-on-one witht he Welshman, who gets his shot away from a wide angle and Federici gets his fingertips to it and the shot flashes past the far post!
    • 11' Keinan again caught impeding Long. Reading try to take it quickly but Robson-Kanu's cross is disappointing.
    • 10' It is Harte who strikes... The shot curls over the wall and over the bar too. Early sighter for the veteran Irishman.
    • 9' A few players around the dead ball, but you can but your house on Ian Harte hitting this one...
    • 8' Referee Mark Halsey sees Keinan pull Long down off the ball and awards a free-kick to Reading in a promising position. A silly foul to give away by the Israeli.
    • 7' Cardiff having the better of the early exchanges, but now Long shrugs off Kevin McNaughton and wins a throw in the Cardiff half. Play, however, is called back after Jay Bothroyd takes a bump. The home crowd don't like that.
    • 6' Whittingham and Craig Bellamy both hovering with intent around a free-kick deep on the left. Bellamy swings it in toward the far post... It's overhit. Goal kick to Reading.
    • 5' Remember, there is no away goals rule in the play-offs. The return leg at the Cardiff City Stadium is on Tuesday.
    • 4' This time Reading make the clearance, but Cardiff retain possession.
    • 3' Zurab Khizanishvili puts a cross behind for the first corner of the match. Dekel Keinan leaps but it goes behind for another Cardiff set piece.
    • 2' A couple of stepovers from Hal Robson-Kanu beofre he tries to pick out Shane Long at the far post. The cross is headed clear.
    • 1' Adam Federici has to come off his line to make a hurried clearance that goes straight to Peter Whittingham, but Cardiff can't make the most of some early pressure.
    • 1' Cardiff kick off and we're underway!
    • 19:43 Both these sides are among the highest scoring in the Championship, so this match promises much. The players are coming out on to the pitch now. We'll be underway shortly...
    • 19:40 So, how do you see this first leg panning out? Will Brian McDermott prevail in his first ever play-off match, or will Dave Jones go some way to making up for the hurt of previous years by taking an advantage back to Wales? Share your thoughts in the comments box below or get in touch with me via Twitter.
    • 19:38 Reading owner John Madejski has been out on the pitch giving it large to the home crowd before kick-off, blowing kisses to all four corners of the ground. You'd think they were going up already!
    • 19:35 Tonight's referee is Mark Halsey. The Bolton official has taken charge of five Championship matches so far this season, including Cardiff's dramatic 1-0 win at bitter local rivals Swansea back in February. Those two foes could well meet in the final after the Swans secured a 0-0 draw at Nottingham Forest last night despite going a man down in the very first minute at the City Ground. Match report: Ten-man Swansea hold Forest
    • 19:30 HEAD-TO-HEAD: Reading and Cardiff have met 55 times in all competitions before tonight's game. The Royals have won 18 games, Cardiff 15, with 15 draws. Both league meetings this season have ended in draws, with the November clash here at the Madejski ending 1-1. In the reverse fixture in the Welsh capital, Craig Bellamy scored six minutes into injury time to seal a 2-2 draw.
    • 19:25 Cardiff goalkeeper Tom Heaton has got over a groin strain, but only makes the bench as Stephen Bywater starts between the sticks for Dave Jones's side. Influential centre-back Mark Hudson will also have to make do being a substitute after he was replaced after just 30 minutes of last weekend's draw at Burnley. Striker Michael Choprais also on the bench as Jones goes for the attacking quartet of Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, Craig Bellmay, Jay Bothroyd and Peter Whittingham. Cardiff team page
    • 19:20 Mixed news for Reading as Mikele Leigertwood has passed a late fitness test on an ankle knock sustained against Derby last weekend, but fellow midfielder Jimmy Kebe has not got over the thigh injury which has ruled him out for the last four games. Noel Hunt is preferred to Simon Church up front alongside top scorer Shane Long. Reading team page
    • 19:15 READING: Federici, Griffin, Mills, Khizanishvili, Harte, McAnuff, Leigertwood, Karacan, Robson-Kanu, Long, Hunt. Subs: McCarthy, Gunnarsson, Tabb, Church, Howard, Pearce, Manset /// CARDIFF: Bywater, Quinn, Keinan, McNaughton, Blake, Burke, Olofinjana, Whittingham, Emmanuel-Thomas, Bellamy, Bothroyd. Subs: Heaton, Naylor, Rae, Hudson, Chopra, Parkin, Koumas.
    • 19:10 Cardiff meanwhile, will be disappointed that they have not already secured top-flight status for the first time in 49 years. A run of just one win in their last four matches - including a 3-0 home defeat to Middlesbrough in the penultimate game - allowed Norwich to steal in and snatch second spot. Championship table
    • 19:05 Brian McDermott's Royals awent on a storming run to finish fifth in the regular season, winning eight straight matches to earn themselves a shot at a return to the Premier League and manager Brian McDermott the Manager of the Month award.
    • 19:00 Welcome to Eurosport-Yahoo!'s live coverage of the Championship play-off semi-final first leg clash between Reading and Cardiff City at the Madejski Stadium!
  • Summary

    • 66' The ball runs across Whittingham and he has to dodge the referee beofre letting fly with a strike that flies wide of the far post! He did well to get that away under the circumstances.
    • 49' Harte's corner headed back across the six-yard box by Long and Mills can't get a touch with an outstretched boot! The Reading skipper goes close again!
    • 45+2' McAnuff cuts in from the byline on the left, stumbles but stays on his feet and his solidly hit low cross is steered wide by Hunt!
    • 36' Audacious attempt at a backheel on goal by Robson-Kanu after he met Jem Karacan's cross at the near post! Bywater reacts quickly to save and tip it round the post!
    • 32' Great ball across from Robson-Kanu as he stabs it across with the outside of his left boot. The cross is deflected away by McNaughton and Olofinjana completes the clearance. The tide very much turning in Reading's favour now.
    • 14' Harte whips in a devilish cross and Bywater comes and completely misses the ball, which flies right under the nose of Matt Mills! The Reading skipper only needed a touch!
    • 12' That's a great ball pinged up to Bellamy from Whittingham. Khizanishvili is caught one-on-one witht he Welshman, who gets his shot away from a wide angle and Federici gets his fingertips to it and the shot flashes past the far post!
    • 10' It is Harte who strikes... The shot curls over the wall and over the bar too. Early sighter for the veteran Irishman.
    • 19:15 READING: Federici, Griffin, Mills, Khizanishvili, Harte, McAnuff, Leigertwood, Karacan, Robson-Kanu, Long, Hunt. Subs: McCarthy, Gunnarsson, Tabb, Church, Howard, Pearce, Manset /// CARDIFF: Bywater, Quinn, Keinan, McNaughton, Blake, Burke, Olofinjana, Whittingham, Emmanuel-Thomas, Bellamy, Bothroyd. Subs: Heaton, Naylor, Rae, Hudson, Chopra, Parkin, Koumas.

Team Line-up & Ratings

  • Line-up

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    • Player Y! Users Expert My Rating
      Goalkeeper
      - -
      Defenders
      - -
      - -
      - -
      - -
      Midfielders
      Yellow Card - -
      Substitution Out57′ - -
      - -
      Yellow Card - -
      Strikers
      - -
      Substitution Out84′ - -
      Subs
      Substitution In84′ - -
      Substitution In57′ - -
    • Player Y! Users Expert My Rating
      Goalkeeper
      - -
      Defenders
      - -
      Substitution Out85′ - -
      - -
      - -
      Midfielders
      - -
      Substitution Out90′ - -
      - -
      - -
      Strikers
      Substitution Out17′ - -
      Yellow Card - -
      Subs
      Substitution In90′ - -
      Substitution In85′ - -
      Substitution In17′ - -

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