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FA Cup

  • March 13, 2011
  • • 16:45
  • • Etihad Stadium, Manchester
  • Referee: L. Probert
  • • Attendance: 41150

Manchester City 1-0 Reading: Second-Half Micah Richards Header Sets Up Semi-Final Clash With Manchester United

Manchester City 1-0 Reading: Second-Half Micah Richards Header Sets Up Semi-Final Clash With Manchester United

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The Citizens edged through at the expense of the Championship side.

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A Micah Richards header helped Manchester City beat Reading and secure a tantalising Wembley FA Cup semi-final meeting with Manchester United.

The right-back's 74th minute effort ended the club's 30-year wait to reach the latter stages of the competition, and defeated the resilient Royals, who showed a dogged spirit but couldn't provide the support to 20-goal lone striker Shane Long.

For the hosts, manager Roberto Mancini made four changes to the side that lost 2-0 to Dynamo Kiev in the Europa League on Thursday. Top scorer Carlos Tevez was welcomed back along with Nigel de Jong, Patrick Vieira and Shaun Wright-Phillips as Edin Dzeko, Gareth Barry, Mario Balotelli and Pablo Zabaleta made way.

Despite the buzz that surged through Eastlands at the prospect of an all-Manchester semi-final, Reading edged the opening minutes. Wingers Jobi McAnuff and Jimmy Kebe caused repeat problems, with the former forcing a corner five minutes in which came to nothing.

But David Silva's creative presence began to tell and he came close to opening the scoring on 18 minutes. The slight Spaniard won the ball from Reading enforcer Mikele Leigertwood in the semi-circle and immediately played in Tevez, who in turn found Wright-Phillips but the wide man's powerful shot from inside the penalty box was palmed away by Alex McCarthy.

Reading's drive ensured they matched their vaunted opponents in most areas but they struggled to keep a lid on Silva's artistry. A wonderful, 20-yard lofted through-ball on the twist from the £24 million summer signing beat the offside trap and put the on-rushing Toure one-on-one with McCarthy on 28 minutes but the Irishman stood tall and ricocheted the effort wide off his legs.

City's class was beginning to tell and they continued to turn the screw as the half ebbed towards conclusion. In thd 41st minute, Toure's long legs and gargantuan frame bundled past Zurab Khizanishvilli on the right wing but the combination of Tevez and Wright-Phillips was crowded out by the scrambling defence from the Ivorian's cross.

Reading had been on the ropes at the end of the first-half and were almost floored by an own-goal from centre forward Shane Long. The Irishman skimmed a 46th minute Aleksandar Kolarov corner towards the net, only for Jay Tabb to stick out a vital leg.

City now had a grip on the match and in the 74th minute they finally went in front through the head of Richards. The defender powerfully rose to meet an out-swinging corner from Silva to tee up a mouthwatering meeting with United.

Stung by the concession, Reading began to threaten City in the air. In the 82nd minute, stand-in centre-back Bryn Gunnarsson headed a deep Ian Harte free-kick wide of Hart's far post, and although nerves were frayed among the home support, City managed to hold on to the slender lead to set up the tie of the season.