Reading 1-3 Crystal Palace: Royals defeated by 10-man Palace

Reading finished their pre-season preparations with a defeat against Crystal Palace as the Premier League side took a 3-1 victory despite being down to 10 players.

Jean-Philippe Mateta had given Palace the lead from the penalty spot after Patrick Vieira’s side being reduced to 10 men in the first-half after Cheikhou Kouyaté’s dangerous tackle on Ovie Ejaria.

Swift levelled for the Royals with a deflected free-kick, but Andre Ayew found the winner in the 80th minute as Rafael Cabral was also beaten by a deflected strike.

Palace secured the win with the final kick of the game as Scott Banks sent a stunning free-kick into the top corner which left Rafael rooted to his line.

Reading lined up for their final pre-season friendly before their 2021/22 Championship campaign kicks off with an away trip to Stoke City next Saturday.

The Royals welcomed Patrick Vieira’s Crystal Palace team to the Select Car Leasing Stadium as Lucas João, George Pușcaș, Tom McIntyre and Liam Moore all returned for their first taste of action since last campaign in a Reading shirt.

Moore showed his defensive nous as he made a vital interception to prevent Mateta from getting into the box in the opening minutes.

John Swift then surrendered possession in a dangerous position as Palace looked to pounce with James McArthur, but his loose first touch allowed Reading to recover.

Lively forward Mateta looked to cause Reading more problems as he drove upfield and played the ball out wide to Jordan Ayew who unleashed a powerful effort at goal from a narrow angle that Rafael Cabral beat away.

Josh Laurent showed his typical tenacious nature in the midfield as he won two big tackles before Swift won the Royals a free kick.

Swift took the resulting set-piece and aimed to find the big frame of Lucas João in the box, but Kouyaté cleared the ball away with his head.

Kouyate was at the heart of the action again when he tussled for the ball with João but fouled the Reading forward which resulted in another promising set-piece position.

Kouyate amended for his error by winning another aerial duel as Ovie Ejaira hit the bouncing ball on the rebound into a crowd of Palace bodies.

The game took a dramatic twist in the 31st minute when Palace were reduced to 10 men as Kouyate was shown a red card.

A loose pass from Palace goalkeeper Vicente Guaita saw Ejaria pounce on the ball, and as he looked to poke the ball past the last defender Kouyate, he was brought down by a dangerous tackle which saw the Eagles man dismissed.

Ejaria looked to provide the Royals’ best threat in forward areas as he feinted to shoot, which saw him breeze past his defender but he curled his effort wide of the post.

Josh Laurent then went closest to gifting Veljko Paunović’s side the lead just before the break as he cut onto his right foot from outside the box and was inches away from picking out the top right hand corner.

The Reading boss made one change at half-time as Ethan Bristow replaced Dejan Tetek.

The second-half began in a lively fashion as substitute Bristow tested the gloves of Guaita with a strong drive which the keeper tipped over the bar.

Tom McIntyre gave the ball away cheaply in his own half as Palace looked to pounce on the break but Michael Morrison chopped down Ayew with a cynical challenge that saw him booked.

Palace gave Reading a scare when a corner routine led to a strike from Joel Ward bouncing back off the post. Palace kept the ball alive with a ball into the back post and were awarded a penalty when Mateta was prevented from converting the ball from close range.

The Palace striker stepped up to take responsibility and calmly slotted the ball past Rafael, despite the Royals keeper diving the correct way.

The hosts made a double switch after falling behind as João and Ejaria were replaced by Pușcaș and trialist, Kadheem Harris.

The hosts pressed to find an equaliser against their 10-man opponents and they were rewarded with a stroke of good fortune in the 68th minute when Swift’s free-kick took a deflection off the wall to divert away from Guaita and hit the back of the net.

Paunović made use of another sub after the leveller as Mamadi Camara took the place of McIntyre.

Palace retook the lead with 10 minutes to go as Ayew drove at the Reading defence and his shot took a deflection to fly past Rafael.

The away side finished with a flourish and added a third goal with the final kick of the match as Banks expertly picked out the top corner with a free-kick

Reading begin their Championship season next Saturday away at Stoke City (3pm).

Reading: Rafael, Yiadom, McIntyre, Morrison, Moore, Tetek, Laurent, Ejaria, Swift, Azeez, João
Subs: Southwood, Bristow, Holmes, Dorsett, Camara, Trialist, Pușcaș, Ehibhatiomhan

Crystal Palace: Guaita, Ward, Kouyate, Guehi, Mitchell, Riedewald, McArthur, Kirby, Ayew, Mateta, Street
Subs: Butland, Matthews, Kelly, Tomkins, Hannam, Clyne, Gallagher, Boateng, Rak-Sakyi, Wells-Morrison, Banks 

Goals: Mateta 55′ (pen), Swift 68′, Ayew 81′, Banks 90+2′

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