By Alan Duffy
A below-par Arsenal battled their way to a second FA Cup final after a hard-fought Wembley clash with Reading, with an extra-time time blunder from Royals’ ‘keeper Adam Federici giving the Gunners a helping hand into the final.
Despite being massive underdogs going into the game, Reading started well as Arsene Wenger’s men struggled to get going.
However, close to half-time, the cup holders made the breakthrough, with Alexis Sanchez firing home after a superb pass from Mesut Ozil.
Just after the re-start, the Championship side got themselves back into the game, with Wojciech Szczesny rather feebly failing to keep out Garath McCleary’s close-range shot.
After that, it was the Royals who looked the more likely side to score, as Arsenal wobbled for a period.
The Gunners did start to push for a winner late on, with Gabriel and Aaron Ramsey (via the post) both going close. However, ultimately the game would go to extra-time.
Arsenal now looked more likely to score, but the goal would come with a whole lot of fortune for the north Londoners. Federici was the villain for the Royals, with the goalkeeper allowing a tame Sanchez shot to squirm under his body and into the Reading goal.
Oliver Giroud then hit the post for the Gunners but would eventually hold on to reach a record-breaking 19th FA Cup final. As for poor old Federici, he left the pitch in tears. But well done Reading for a cracking performance.
Here’s the highlights…
Photos: Getty Images
Vine: Matt Desai