Team: Cesar, Dyer (Nelsen), Mbia, Hill, Onuoha, Mackie, Granero, Faurlin (Diakite), Park (Zamora), Hoilett, Cisse
Subs Not Used: Green, Derry, Ehmer, Wright-Phillips
Attendance: 11,562 (including 1,495 away fans)
I arrived in the Crown & Sceptre nice and early and was later joined by Steve Zico, Bradleyog and Simon Staal from Sweden.
Rangers got off to a cracking start with an outstanding individual goal from Junior Hoilett, but the R’s can’t defend a goal and it had to be Kaspars Gorkss who headed in a free kick minutes later. Djibril Cisse put us back in the lead after 71 minutes with an absolute screamer in front of the Loft. However his celebrations earned him a booking.
Six minutes later Rangers conceded a free kick over 25 yards out and Shorey stepped up to guide the ball wide of Cesar. Matters continued to deteriorate further as Pogrebnyk gave the visitors the lead with an audacious finish after 81 minutes. Despite Julio Cesar saving a penalty we also witnessed the worrying sight of Ale Faurlin hobbling off towards the end !
A night of comebacks in West London saw Reading twice fight back to beat QPR and advance to the last 16. In the battle of the Premier League’s bottom two sides, it was the visitors who emerged with a valuable win.
Brian McDermott’s men responded to falling behind in both halves, before Pavel Pogrebnyak’s late flick decided the tie. “It looked a terrific finish” said McDermott, who hopes victory can kick-start his side’s league campaign. “Tonight was what we’re about. I know if we perform at that level, with that tempo, and the way we pass the ball with pace, we’re going to be more than capable in this league.”
For QPR manager Mark Hughes, the poor results continue. “At 2-1 going into the last period of the game I certainly felt we’d done enough,” he said. “Cup runs can help your league form, and we wanted to progress in the competition. Unfortunately, we’re not in the hat.”
Hughes could at least take heart from Kieron Dyer’s return to the starting line-up for the first time in 13 months, while Samba Diakite – absent since the end of August for personal reasons – made a late substitute appearance.
It started so well for the home side, when Junior Hoilett danced through the Reading defence before finishing in the bottom corner. But the lead lasted less than two minutes, as former QPR defender Kaspars Gorkss headed the Royals level from Nicky Shorey’s in-swinging free kick.
The hosts regained the lead after 71 minutes, as Djibril Cisse scored his first of the season, unleashing a ferocious 25-yard drive that beat an outstretched Alex McCarthy. “He needed that, he’s been struggling with a little bit of form and confidence,” said Hughes. “It was a fantastic strike and there’s more to come from him.”
But Reading again levelled quickly, as Shorey found the top corner with a free kick, before Pogrebnyak’s delicious flick won it for the visitors. The Russian striker had a chance to ease any remaining nerves in added time, when he was judged to have been tripped by QPR debutant Stephane Mbia in the area, but his spot-kick was saved by Julio Cesar. Reading’s reward for advancing is a home tie with Arsenal.
“It’s a good draw, really happy with the draw,” said McDermott, who added that he did not see an alleged stamp from Bobby Zamora on Jem Karacan in the closing stages. “We’ll look forward to it, but before that we have a big game against Newcastle and this result will be important going into that.”
Gordon Simpson – The Telegraph
(The above pics were taken by Martin Percival. All rights are reserved and his photos are used by the Independent R’s with his permission)