EFL Cup - First Round South
ReadingReading3ColchesterColchester United1

Reading 3-1 Colchester United: Lucas Joao hat-trick sends Royals through

Lucas Joao (centre) scores for Reading
Lucas Joao headed Reading's equaliser before adding two more

Lucas Joao scored a hat-trick as Championship side Reading cruised past League Two Colchester United in the Carabao Cup first round.

Reading were without new manager Veljko Paunovic, with the Serb - appointed a week ago - still observing UK government quarantine rules after flying from the United States to join Reading's short pre-season training camp in Portugal.

Colchester took a 37th-minute lead when Jevani Brown precisely prodded in from close range.

But Reading equalised in the first minute of first-half stoppage time, as Joao dived forward to nod home firmly.

Joao added a second goal in the 56th minute and completed his treble 15 minutes from time after a superb turn in the Colchester area.

Paunovic, the former coach of MSL outfit the Chicago Fire, was named Reading boss last Saturday, replacing Mark Bowen.

Two days later, Bowen left the Berkshire club after declining the offer to return to his former role as sporting director.

Reading assistant manager Eddie Niedzwiecki took charge for the tie, with Paunovic clear to take first-team training from next Tuesday before the start of the new Championship campaign.

Colchester were also under new management, with Steve Ball succeeding John McGreal as head coach in July.

The Essex side reached the Carabao Cup quarter-finals last season before bowing out 3-0 to Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Reading began sluggishly, with their lower-tier opponents moving forward with imagination and pace.

Callum Harriott, the former Reading forward, and Harry Pell both had goalbound efforts blocked in the opening exchanges.

Reading, fielding a mixture of youth and experience, gradually grew into the game and threatened through Sam Baldock on the break.

But after he had cut inside from the left flank, his effort was comfortably saved by Colchester goalkeeper Dean Gerken.

Colchester's best endeavours finally reaped deserved reward eight minutes before the interval.

Left-back Cohen Bramall clipped in a cross from the left and Brown met it with a firm first-time finish.

But Reading drew level as the interval approached.

Felipe Araruna provided a teasing right-wing centre and Joao threw himself forward to beat Gerken with a fine diving header.

Reading opened strongly in the second period, with debutant Josh Laurent twice wasting good chances.

First, he volleyed wildly wide from Michael Olise's far-post corner; soon after, he was again wasteful from a similar position.

But Reading went ahead 11 minutes into the half when the Colchester defence stood still expecting an offside call.

It never came and Joao was afforded all the time he needed to beat Gerken.

The Portuguese striker then sealed Reading's safe passage into round two, with his third strike, after excellent control and skill in the Colchester box.

Match report supplied by PA Media.

Line-ups

Reading

  • 22Southwood
  • 20Araruna Hoffmann
  • 4Morrison
  • 6Moore
  • 38Bristow
  • 7Olise
  • 24Aluko
  • 28Laurent
  • 12McNultySubstituted forRinomhotaat 45'minutes
  • 18Lucas JoãoSubstituted forMelvin-Lambertat 82'minutes
  • 9BaldockSubstituted forRichardsat 67'minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Richards
  • 8Rinomhota
  • 34Tetek
  • 35Samuels
  • 36Abbey
  • 37Melvin-Lambert
  • 40Andrésson

Colchester

  • 1Gerken
  • 17Scarlett
  • 18Eastman
  • 5Smith
  • 3Bramall
  • 14ChilversSubstituted forSeniorat 71'minutes
  • 8Pell
  • 24StevensonSubstituted forMarshallat 88'minutes
  • 23Poku
  • 10Brown
  • 11Harriott

Substitutes

  • 2Welch-Hayes
  • 6Sowunmi
  • 7Senior
  • 29George
  • 31McLeod
  • 32Hutchinson
  • 33Marshall
Referee:
Josh Smith

Match Stats

Home TeamReadingAway TeamColchester
Possession
Home60%
Away40%
Shots
Home12
Away11
Shots on Target
Home5
Away3
Corners
Home4
Away5
Fouls
Home4
Away17

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Reading 3, Colchester United 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Reading 3, Colchester United 1.

  3. Post update

    Corner, Colchester United. Conceded by Luke Southwood.

  4. Post update

    Attempt saved. Jevani Brown (Colchester United) left footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

  5. Post update

    Offside, Colchester United. Kwame Poku tries a through ball, but Callum Harriott is caught offside.

  6. Post update

    Offside, Colchester United. Kwame Poku tries a through ball, but Callum Harriott is caught offside.

  7. Post update

    Foul by Omar Richards (Reading).

  8. Post update

    Kwame Poku (Colchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  9. Post update

    Attempt saved. Nahum Melvin-Lambert (Reading) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Michael Olise with a through ball.

  10. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Michael Olise (Reading) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Nahum Melvin-Lambert.

  11. Substitution

    Substitution, Colchester United. Marley Marshall replaces Ben Stevenson.

  12. Post update

    Michael Olise (Reading) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  13. Post update

    Foul by Tommy Smith (Colchester United).

  14. Post update

    Michael Olise (Reading) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  15. Post update

    Foul by Harry Pell (Colchester United).

  16. Substitution

    Substitution, Reading. Nahum Melvin-Lambert replaces Lucas João.

  17. Post update

    Attempt missed. Omar Richards (Reading) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Michael Olise with a cross.

  18. Post update

    Attempt missed. Callum Harriott (Colchester United) left footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Jevani Brown with a through ball.

  19. Goal!

    Goal! Reading 3, Colchester United 1. Lucas João (Reading) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Michael Morrison with a headed pass.

  20. Post update

    Foul by Courtney Senior (Colchester United).