Royals out of Peace Cup
By Peter Fraser
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Reading were ruing their inferior goal difference as they went out of the Peace Cup.
Reading were left ruing their inferior goal difference after they were knocked out of the Peace Cup.
The Royals comfortably secured a 1-0 victory over Shimizu S-Pulse, courtesy of a 68th minute Brynjar Gunnarsson header, however this was not enough as Lyon beat River Plate 2-1 to go through on goal difference at the top of Group B.
Reading began the fixture knowing that they had to win their match by at least two goals and hope that Lyon beat River Plate, but not by a greater margin than any Royals victory, if they were to progress to meet Premier League rivals Bolton in the final.
This showed as Reading immediately signalled their intent when Stephen Hunt collected a loose ball from kick-off and fired in a curling effort, which was easily gathered by Yohei Nishibe in the Shimizu goal.
The J-League outfit then demonstrated their attacking prowess as Reading were lucky to escape when Fernandinho Damasio struck an effort from range, which Royals' Australian goalkeeper Adam Federici fumbled and was fortunate to smother before Jungo Fujimoto followed up.
Reading, driven by the lively Hunt, then dominated the half and should have been in front on 32 minutes, but Shane Long climbed too early to meet a John Oster cross and poorly headed over from under the crossbar.
Shimizu continued to show high energy levels, but the end product was lacking as Reading centre-back Ivar Ingimarsson comfortably dropped deep to negate the possibility of a counter-attack.
However, after the interval Reading received their second lucky break when they were caught cold from a quickly-taken Shimizu short corner which Kazumichi Takagi headed in only to see he had been denied by dubious offside flag.
This stirred the Royals into life and Ingimarsson was guilty of wasting a glorious opportunity when Shimizu failed to scramble a corner clear and the ball fell to the Icelandic defender who only managed to blast straight at Nishibe from five yards out.
Reading, though, were soon in front when Gunnarsson timed his run perfectly to meet a precise Dave Kitson left-wing cross and head into the bottom corner.
This sparked an assault on the Shimizu goal, Ingimarsson headed a corner against the post and Long was denied by a wonderful save from Nishibe late on, but Reading could not find the second goal they required.