Reading 3-0 Cardiff: George Puscas' double seals Royals' first win
John Swift added Reading's third in the 83rd minute
Last Updated: 18/08/19 3:18pm
George Puscas scored twice on his full Sky Bet Championship debut to fire Reading to their first league win of the season with a 3-0 victory over Cardiff.
Puscas, who signed from Serie A side Inter Milan in the summer, opened his Championship account with a fine solo goal in the 25th minute before turning in John Swift's cross to double his side's advantage before the break.
Swift then sealed Reading's win in the 83rd minute with a breakaway goal, and it could have got even worse for Cardiff had Alex Smithies not saved Yakou Meite's late penalty.
How Puscas inspired Reading
Reading went into the game bottom of the table, and the only Championship side without a point after two rounds of matches.
The match was preceded by a minute's silence in memory of Thames Valley police officer Andrew Harper, who was killed in an incident while on duty on Thursday evening.
Reading threatened first when Puscas shot across the face of goal from a promising position. Joe Ralls then tested Royals goalkeeper Rafael, making his home debut, with a powerful 20-yard shot.
Puscas continued to look dangerous and was rewarded with a superb goal - his second for the club - in the 25th minute. He set off on a mazy run from near the halfway line, skipped past Will Vaulks and cut in before curling a left-foot shot past goalkeeper Smithies.
Cardiff looked rattled and were breached again five minutes before the break. Swift crossed from the right and Puscas, racing in at the near post, poked the ball past Smithies.
Cardiff manager Neil Warnock gambled at the break, bringing on substitutes Callum Paterson and Isaac Vassell. Warnock had already used a replacement, Curtis Nelson, in the first half.
But it did little to improve Cardiff's attacking ideas, with Reading continuing to look the more composed going forward.
Omar Richards appeared to have set up Puscas for his hat-trick on the edge of the area, but the Romania international was crowded out at the last moment.
Cardiff's fate was eventually sealed in the 83rd minute when Swift broke away on the right to beat Smithies with an angled shot.
The Bluebirds were then indebted to Smithies in stoppage time, when he saved a Meite penalty after Sean Morrison had brought down Andy Yiadom.
Reading manager Jose Gomes: "Like all the Reading fans, I am very happy. My players worked very well and really followed our plan. We knew the way in which Cardiff played and my players really respected everything that they could.
"They did it and they got the results for this organisation, teamwork and good defensive play. We also created some very good combinations in attack and nice situations from which we could score even more goals."
Cardiff manager Neil Warnock: "We've been poor at the back, really poor. It was the same at Wigan (where Cardiff lost 3-2) when we should have won that game.
"You can't really cater for the goals that we've let in. I don't think it's been an individual really. Quite a few of them have been making mistakes and we've been punished for them.
"You've got to defend better than we did today. We're in the Championship and some of our defending was really poor. When you're defending as badly as we are, it doesn't matter whether you're playing in the U13s or in the Premier League, you're going to lose games."
Man of the match - George Puscas
Gomes' praise for Puscas
"It was good for him," Gomes added. "It's always good for the strikers.
"It gives them confidence every time that they score. But we cannot forget that if they receive so many good balls, it means that other players played well enough to give them these balls.
"Like I said, it was good teamwork. But we are still in the beginning of the season and, for sure, there will be a lot of ups and downs - like all the teams in the world."