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Reading 3-0 Cardiff City: George Puscas double gets Royals off mark

George Puscas joined Reading from Inter Milan this summer
George Puscas joined Reading from Inter Milan this summer

George Puscas opened his Championship account for Reading in style, capping a fine display with two goals as the Royals dominated visitors Cardiff City.

The Romania forward showed pace, skill and poise for a fine opening solo goal, cutting in from the right to score.

Puscas then showed he can also be a poacher, nipping in at the near post to divert the ball into the net.

John Swift sealed Reading's first league win of the season, as Cardiff were caught exposed chasing the game.

It could have been even worse for Cardiff, but Yakou Meite's late penalty was well saved by Alex Smithies.

Cardiff were the first to offer a serious threat on goal as Joe Ralls - who had been a doubt after spending part of last week on a drip in hospital with a mystery illness - stung the hands of Rafael Cabral in the Royals goal.

But the tide started to turn against the visitors when holding midfielder Marlon Pack limped off with an early injury, forcing Cardiff boss Neil Warnock to send on Curtis Nelson for his competitive debut.

The enforced change seemed to unsettle the Bluebirds and Reading started to pick holes in their disjointed formation.

Puscas, signed from Serie A side Inter Milan this summer, in particular was enjoying the freedom being offered by Cardiff.

While his famous name has seen him mentioned in the same breath as Hungary legend Ferenc Puskas, the 23-year-old Romanian version showed just why Reading paid what is thought to be a club-record £8m fee for him.

A swift counter found Ralls in unfamiliar territory covering at left-back and Puscas showed no mercy, beating the midfielder before cutting in to beat Smithies with a left-foot shot into the far corner.

Cardiff's right flank was also getting a serious examination from Ovie Ejaria and it needed Aden Flint's diving header to clear a dangerous cross from the Liverpool loanee.

Smithies, deputising in the Cardiff goal for the injured Neil Etheridge, looked jittery and with good reason, as Puscas got across the front of Flint to poke the ball between the keeper's legs for his second.

Warnock's annoyance at his side's display saw him use his last two substitutions at half-time, sending on Callum Paterson and Isaac Vassell for Will Vaulks and Junior Hoilett as Cardiff switched to a back three.

The move did give Cardiff a more solid look and Reading's chance creation dropped, but the visitors continued to look stodgy in attack - although Robert Glatzel's fierce rising shot needed tipping over the crossbar by Rafael.

Puscas should have had his hat-trick when Leandro Bacuna was caught in possession, but put the ball wide with just Smithies to beat.

Cardiff failed to heed their warning and were again caught short-handed at the back, allowing Swift to cap his own fine display with a strong shot that the diving Smithies had little chance of saving.

Smithies did at least finish on a personal high, diving full-stretch to his left to save Meite's late penalty after Sean Morrison had brought down Andy Yiadom.

Reading leapfrog Cardiff in the table, rising to 17th while the Bluebirds fall to 19th.

Reading manager Jose Gomes told BBC Radio Berkshire:

"It was a very good, strong defensive performance in terms of our organisation.

"We didn't give Cardiff any space to find a way through to our goal and there were some good transitions between defence and midfield through to our strikers.

"Those two were always a danger to the Cardiff defence, but like a team we did well to improve a lot of our defensive mistakes from the first two games.

"But, we can't get too carried away, we have to refocus on what's next which is Wednesday night at West Brom."

On striker George Puscas' performance: "I celebrated his first goal quite a lot on the touchline.

"When he picked the ball up, there wasn't much on and I was shouting at him to 'go, go, go' towards goal and the penalty area, which he did.

"Then once he was in the box, it was a fantastic individual finish."

Cardiff manager Neil Warnock told BBC Radio Wales:

"I was quite comfortable for the first 20 minutes and thought this was a game to be won.

"But for whatever reason we go away from what we were doing, take a short free-kick and end up losing a goal. It's terrible defending.

"At half-time I thought if we get the next goal I could see a little bit of nervousness in their dug-out, but he [Rafael] made two or three good saves."

Line-ups

Reading

  • 33Cabral Barbosa
  • 5Miazga
  • 4Morrison
  • 6MooreBooked at 42mins
  • 29Tuncará Gomes
  • 17Yiadom
  • 10Swift
  • 14EjariaSubstituted forRinomhotaat 85'minutes
  • 27Richards
  • 47PuscasSubstituted forBoyéat 82'minutes
  • 31Lucas JoãoSubstituted forMeiteat 80'minutes

Substitutes

  • 8Rinomhota
  • 16McIntyre
  • 18Boyé
  • 19Meite
  • 20Neves Virgínia
  • 26Adam
  • 39Barrett

Cardiff

  • 12Smithies
  • 7BacunaBooked at 8mins
  • 4Morrison
  • 5Flint
  • 3Bennett
  • 15PackSubstituted forNelsonat 23'minutes
  • 8RallsBooked at 45mins
  • 19Mendez-Laing
  • 6VaulksSubstituted forPatersonat 45'minutes
  • 33HoilettSubstituted forVassellat 45'minutes
  • 9Glatzel

Substitutes

  • 10Vassell
  • 11Murphy
  • 13Paterson
  • 16Nelson
  • 20Whyte
  • 25Day
  • 27Bogle
Referee:
Andy Davies
Attendance:
14,252

Match Stats

Home TeamReadingAway TeamCardiff
Possession
Home52%
Away48%
Shots
Home14
Away14
Shots on Target
Home6
Away7
Corners
Home4
Away2
Fouls
Home6
Away13

Live Text

Match ends, Reading 3, Cardiff City 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Reading 3, Cardiff City 0.

Foul by Yakou Meite (Reading).

Aden Flint (Cardiff City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Penalty saved! Yakou Meite (Reading) fails to capitalise on this great opportunity, left footed shot saved in the bottom right corner.

Penalty Reading. Andy Yiadom draws a foul in the penalty area.

Penalty conceded by Sean Morrison (Cardiff City) after a foul in the penalty area.

Andy Yiadom (Reading) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Joe Bennett (Cardiff City).

Attempt saved. Leandro Bacuna (Cardiff City) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

Attempt saved. Joe Ralls (Cardiff City) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

Foul by Matt Miazga (Reading).

Robert Glatzel (Cardiff City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Substitution

Substitution, Reading. Andy Rinomhota replaces Ovie Ejaria.

Goal!

Goal! Reading 3, Cardiff City 0. John Swift (Reading) right footed shot from the right side of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Andy Yiadom with a headed pass following a fast break.

Substitution

Substitution, Reading. Lucas Boyé replaces George Puscas.

Attempt missed. George Puscas (Reading) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by John Swift following a fast break.

Corner, Cardiff City. Conceded by Rafael Cabral.

Attempt saved. Curtis Nelson (Cardiff City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Joe Ralls.

Attempt missed. Joe Ralls (Cardiff City) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right.

Substitution

Substitution, Reading. Yakou Meite replaces Lucas João.

Attempt blocked. Robert Glatzel (Cardiff City) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Isaac Vassell.

Attempt missed. George Puscas (Reading) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Lucas João.

George Puscas (Reading) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Sean Morrison (Cardiff City).

Ovie Ejaria (Reading) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Curtis Nelson (Cardiff City).

Attempt saved. Lucas João (Reading) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by John Swift.

Attempt blocked. Lucas João (Reading) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by George Puscas.

Matt Miazga (Reading) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Robert Glatzel (Cardiff City).

Corner, Cardiff City. Conceded by Rafael Cabral.

Attempt saved. Robert Glatzel (Cardiff City) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

Attempt missed. Lucas João (Reading) right footed shot from the right side of the box is too high. Assisted by John Swift.

Attempt blocked. Pelé (Reading) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by John Swift.

Corner, Reading. Conceded by Curtis Nelson.

Corner, Reading. Conceded by Curtis Nelson.

George Puscas (Reading) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Sean Morrison (Cardiff City).

Attempt missed. Lucas João (Reading) right footed shot from the right side of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by John Swift following a fast break.

goal

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Sunday 18th August 2019

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Leeds32106247
2Charlton32107437
3West Brom32105327
4Swansea32105327
5Millwall32103127
6Sheff Wed32015236
7Fulham32014226
8Derby31204315
9Nottm Forest31115324
10Hull31114404
11Bristol City31114404
12Brentford31112204
13QPR311134-14
14Barnsley311134-14
15Birmingham311124-24
16Preston31025413
17Reading31025503
18Blackburn310224-23
19Cardiff310247-33
20Wigan310237-43
21Luton301257-21
22Middlesbrough301235-21
23Huddersfield301235-21
24Stoke301247-31
View full Championship table

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