Millwall 1-1 Reading: Lucas Joao equaliser rescues point to end losing run

Reading v Colchester Utd- Lucas Joao
Reading v Colchester Utd- Lucas Joao

Reading ended a run of four consecutive defeats as Lucas Joao hit a second half equaliser to earn the Royals a point at Millwall.

Reading went behind on the stroke of half-time after a perfectly struck free kick form Jed Wallace, but levelled early in the second half through Joao who maintained his impressive scoring.

The draw sees Reading move up a place into fifth in the Championship table.

Seeking to stop a run of four consecutive defeats, Veljko Paunovic made two changes to his starting eleven.

Tom Holmes replaced Tomas Esteves at right-back, while Yakou Meite returned from the start in place of Sone Aluko.

It was a timid start to the game, as neither side were able to forge out many chances in a cagey opening 10 minutes.

Former Reading defender, and academy graduate, Jake Cooper picked up an early booking as he fouled Yakou Meite as the pacey forward raced away from the Millwall centre-back and was pulled back to prevent him going any further.

And Cooper provided the most dangerous threat from set-pieces, a useful weapon for Millwall in recent seasons with his height and aerial presence. But Rafael came out to claim the ball after they aimed for the tall defender from a free kick 14 minutes in.

Meite tried his luck from distance when the ball span up for him after an attempted tackle but Millwall goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski got down low to make the save.

Alfa Semedo then received Reading’s first yellow card as he collided heavily with Williams after mistiming his tackle.

In a fairly uneventful first-half, was there time for a late twist as the Royals gave away a free kick in a dangerous position.

Set piece specialist Jed Wallace stood over the ball and from 25 yards out, curled a sumptuous effort into the top left corner which left Rafael rooted helplessly to his line as the hosts took the lead in added time of the first 45.

Clearly unsatisfied with what he saw from his team in the first half, Paunovic made a change at the break as Michael Olise replaced Semedo.

The Royals showed some signs of life early in the second half as Olise tried to create for his teammates, who had been starved of chances in the first half.

And it was Olise who unlocked the Millwall defence as Lucas Joao fired in an equaliser in the 53rd minute with his eighth Championship goal of the season.

Olise played a first timed chipped through ball perfectly into the path of Joao who squeezed the ball through the keepers legs at the near post from a tight angle to level the game.

Millwall looked for an instant response as Cooper won the ball in the air from a corner but Rafael got down low to gather the ball comfortably.

Another former Royal entered the fray as Jon Dadi Bodvarsson replaced Troy Parrott up front for the home team.

And Bodvarsson came close to making an instant impact as he curled an effort towards goal from just inside the box which was saved by the fingertips of Rafael.

A powerful run from Joao threatened the Millwall back line as Shaun Hutchinson brought down the Reading forward just outside of the box and was shown a yellow card.

Millwall had a good chance to snatch the points with 10 minutes left as Bodvarsson’s header across the goal found Leonard just six yards out who raced on to his flick but he scooped his header over the bar.

Wallace had a golden chance to grab a winner in the 90th minute as he got on the end of Bodvarsson’s cut back but hit his effort straight down the throat of Rafael, before Joao squandered a chance just inside the box which flew inches wide of the far post.

The Royals are in front of the Sky Sports cameras in their next fixture when they host Bristol City at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday (12.30pm kick off).

Millwall: Bialkowski, Leonard, Hutchinson, Cooper, Wallace, Woods, Williams, Wallace, Thompson, Malone, Parrott
Subs: Fielding, Smith, Ferguson, Pearce, Brown, Bodvarsson, Skalak, Burey, Muller

Reading: Rafael, Holmes, Morrison, Moore, Richards, Laurent, Rinomhota, Ejaria, Semedo, Meite, Joao
Subs: Walker, Esteves, Olise, Baldock, Gibson, Aluko, Tetek, Watson, Onen

Goals: J Wallace 45′, Lucas Joao 53′

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