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Reading 2-3 Birmingham City: Jeremie Bela sets up Blues win

Bellingham is the Blues' youngest ever first-team player, having made his debut at 16 earlier this season
Jude Bellingham celebrates after his shot deflected off Michael Morrison for Birmingham's opening goal at the Madejski Stadium

Jeremie Bela netted his first goal in English football and set up another as Birmingham triumphed at the Madejski Stadium.

The French forward, who joined the Blues last month, rifled in a 25-yard free-kick to help his side clinch the points against Reading.

Birmingham went in front when Jude Bellingham's drive deflected off former Blues skipper Michael Morrison, only for Yakou Meite to head Reading level.

But Bela's strike restored the visitors' advantage and he then teed up Alvaro Gimenez to make it 3-1 before Lucas Joao grabbed a late consolation.

Reading had the better opportunities in a tightly-contested first half, with Matt Miazga heading wide and Meite miscuing after Garath McCleary had set him up.

However, Blues went ahead with a goal from nowhere in the 41st minute, Bellingham's effort taking a wicked deflection off Morrison to leave Rafael Cabral helpless.

The lead lasted only four minutes as Pele delivered a corner for Meite to make amends for that earlier miss with his fifth goal of the campaign.

In an end-to-end second half, Birmingham's Jacques Maghoma hit the bar before Bela put his side 2-1 up, crashing a free-kick into the top corner of the net.

Reading pressed hard for a second equaliser and George Puscas and Joao both squandered chances to square the contest again.

But Gimenez earned the Blues some breathing space in the 88th minute, finding the net with a left-foot finish before Joao stabbed home Reading's second deep into added time.

Reading manager Mark Bowen:

"We were poor. It's easy to say that we're missing our 'ball players' in John Swift and Ovie Ejaria and that was a big loss to us.

"But the players stepping in have got to be better in terms of passing, retaining possession and being braver on the ball. They were lacking today.

"I pride myself on my team picking up second balls but I thought we were so poor at that. We were sloppy getting into the game and then in possession.

"I said to the players in the dressing-room 'I've got no problem if you give the ball away'. But you then have to go and get it again and be brave."

Birmingham head coach Pep Clotet told BBC WM 95.6:

"It was a huge step forward to where we want to be. The whole team believe in what we're doing, we keep playing our football, we keep going and in the end we get a fantastic result.

"Jeremie has this kick, we've been working a lot with him, preparing a lot of free-kicks - direct and indirect - and it's good that it paid off. From that distance, it was perfect because it's very difficult for the goalkeeper.

"Josh (McEachran) helped us massively on those build-ups because, if you compare it to our game against Millwall, we struggled a little bit to get the ball from the back to the midfield and forwards. Josh had that role today and accomplished it very well.

"Everyone in this team is contributing and, when the moment comes, they're ready. when we score one goal, we want the second one and when we have the second, we want to go for the third."

Line-ups

Reading

  • 33Cabral Barbosa
  • 5MiazgaSubstituted forBoyéat 45'minutes
  • 4Morrison
  • 6Moore
  • 17Yiadom
  • 29Tuncará GomesSubstituted forAdamat 76'minutes
  • 8Rinomhota
  • 12McClearySubstituted forLucas Joãoat 66'minutes
  • 27Richards
  • 19Meite
  • 47PuscasBooked at 90mins

Substitutes

  • 1Walker
  • 2Gunter
  • 15Loader
  • 18Boyé
  • 24Blackett
  • 26Adam
  • 31Lucas João

Birmingham

  • 27Trueman
  • 5Colin
  • 12Dean
  • 14Clarke-SalterSubstituted forHardingat 17'minutes
  • 3Pedersen
  • 7CrowleySubstituted forMaghomaat 30'minutes
  • 34Sunjic
  • 16McEachranBooked at 62minsSubstituted forJutkiewiczat 69'minutes
  • 11Bela
  • 24Giménez
  • 22Bellingham

Substitutes

  • 1Camp
  • 2Harding
  • 10Jutkiewicz
  • 15Montero
  • 19Maghoma
  • 26Davis
  • 37Bailey
Referee:
Tim Robinson
Attendance:
14,103

Match Stats

Home TeamReadingAway TeamBirmingham
Possession
Home42%
Away58%
Shots
Home15
Away16
Shots on Target
Home4
Away5
Corners
Home8
Away5
Fouls
Home19
Away7

Live Text

Match ends, Reading 2, Birmingham City 3.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Reading 2, Birmingham City 3.

Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Andy Rinomhota.

Goal!

Goal! Reading 2, Birmingham City 3. Lucas João (Reading) right footed shot from very close range to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Charlie Adam following a set piece situation.

Foul by Lukas Jutkiewicz (Birmingham City).

Michael Morrison (Reading) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Liam Moore.

Jacques Maghoma (Birmingham City) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Charlie Adam (Reading).

Booking

George Puscas (Reading) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Harlee Dean (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by George Puscas (Reading).

Goal!

Goal! Reading 1, Birmingham City 3. Álvaro Giménez (Birmingham City) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner.

Attempt blocked. Álvaro Giménez (Birmingham City) left footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Jérémie Bela.

Attempt blocked. Andy Yiadom (Reading) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Lucas Boyé.

Attempt blocked. Yakou Meite (Reading) header from the right side of the six yard box is blocked. Assisted by Charlie Adam with a cross.

Attempt blocked. Lucas Boyé (Reading) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Lucas João.

Attempt saved. Jacques Maghoma (Birmingham City) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Álvaro Giménez.

Attempt blocked. Lucas Boyé (Reading) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Andy Yiadom.

Foul by Ivan Sunjic (Birmingham City).

Charlie Adam (Reading) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Offside, Birmingham City. Jacques Maghoma tries a through ball, but Álvaro Giménez is caught offside.

Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Liam Moore.

Attempt missed. Lucas João (Reading) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Andy Yiadom.

Attempt saved. Lukas Jutkiewicz (Birmingham City) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Jude Bellingham.

Jérémie Bela (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Lucas Boyé (Reading).

Ivan Sunjic (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Lucas Boyé (Reading).

Corner, Reading. Conceded by Ivan Sunjic.

Substitution

Substitution, Reading. Charlie Adam replaces Pelé.

Attempt missed. Jérémie Bela (Birmingham City) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Lukas Jutkiewicz.

Attempt saved. Jérémie Bela (Birmingham City) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top left corner.

Álvaro Giménez (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Pelé (Reading).

Attempt missed. Yakou Meite (Reading) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left.

Substitution

Substitution, Birmingham City. Lukas Jutkiewicz replaces Josh McEachran because of an injury.

Jérémie Bela (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Lucas Boyé (Reading).

Substitution

Substitution, Reading. Lucas João replaces Garath McCleary.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Leeds20134330102043
2West Brom19126136191742
3Fulham20105532211135
4Bristol City209833328535
5Nottm Forest1996426161033
6Sheff Wed209562819932
7Preston209473125631
8Cardiff208753027331
9Brentford2093830161430
10Swansea198652420430
11Blackburn209382727030
12Hull208573227529
13Birmingham208482226-428
14QPR208483037-728
15Millwall206952527-227
16Derby206772026-625
17Charlton206592627-123
18Reading1963102426-221
19Middlesbrough204881727-1020
20Luton2062122741-1420
21Huddersfield2046102233-1118
22Wigan2044121833-1516
23Stoke2042142135-1414
24Barnsley2026122341-1812
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