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Reading 3-0 Rotherham United: Meite double extends Royals’ lead at the top

Reading extended their lead at the top of the Championship to five points as they made it seven unbeaten after Yakou Meite bagged a brace against Rotherham United.

Meite scored the opener in the 42nd minute after a scrappy affair which saw Rotherham have the better of the play but the Royals were clinical to take their only chance of the half.

The Ivorian then doubled Reading’s lead with a perfectly executed acrobatic volley before Lucas Joao scored a penalty in stoppage time to earn the Royals their sixth Championship win of the season to continue their scintillating form.

The Royals are now undefeated in their last seven meetings against the Millers.

Yak attack! Meite’s double extends Reading’s lead at the top

Veljko Paunovic made three changes to the team that beat Wycombe Wanderers on Tuesday as Tomas Esteves and Alfa Semedo were both selected for their first starts for the club while George Puscas replaced in-form striker Lucas Joao.

Much like the Wycombe game on Tuesday, the Royals started slowly and were pinned back by Rotherham early on.

Wes Harding burst forward for the Millers and made his way into the box but Royals skipper Liam Moore covered well to make an important block from his low cross.

Rafael was called into action for the first time after 15 minutes when Joe Mattock got down the left wing but his cross was palmed out by the Royals keeper for a corner, but the Millers wasted their chance with a short corner routine which ended with an over hit cross.

It was a scrappy opening half an hour in blustery conditions, but with the visitors dominating possession as Mattock had a shot on the edge of the box blocked before Omar Richards stayed switched on to clear a cross at the back post.

Reading came forward for the first time through Yakou Meite and despite Tomas Esteves beating his man on the wing, the young full-back put too much on his cross.

Despite a complete lack of creativity, the Royals took the lead against the run of play in the 42nd minute.

Ovie Ejaria showed his nifty footwork to work space for a cross which he clipped into the back post to find Meite who took a touch on his chest to steady himself and drilled the ball through Jamal Blackman’s legs to give Reading the lead.

There was a suspicion of offside but the flag stayed down as Meite put away Reading’s only chance of the half to bag his second Championship goal of the season.

Rotherham searched for an equaliser and turned to the bench as striker George Hirst came on. And he would have scored with his first touch of the match had it not been for a goal line clearance from Moore who took up an excellent position on the line to preserve Reading’s lead.

Paunovic looked to seize more control in the match as Lucas Joao and Michael came on to replace Puscas and Ejaria.

The Millers then tried an effort from distance in the 68th minute but Harding’s shot sailed just over the bar.

Rotherham looked to break the defensive resolve of Reading, who have conceded just one league goal this season, but Rafael kept his side in front as he flew to his right to keep Freddie Lapado’s fierce shot out.

Andy Rinomhota then had a chance as he met Omar Richards cross into the box but he glanced his header harmlessly wide of the target.

With Rotherham pushing forward for an equaliser, Reading had a chance to punish them on the break as Meite broke forward but ? made a superb interception to keep his pass from reaching Olise in the middle.

Esteves then tried his luck from 30 yards and was denied a stunning goal by the fingertips of Blackman who tipped the ball over.

But Reading had the points all but sealed in the 79th minute when Meite scored with a stunning acrobatic effort following Olise’s corner as he fired the ball past Blackman with a bicycle kick.

Olise then nearly caught out Blackman with a free kick as he opted to go for goal which wrong footed the Rotherham keeper who just managed to get fingertips to the ball to tip it onto the bar.

But Reading were awarded a penalty in stoppage time as Lucas Joao was taken down in the box. He took the resulting spot kick and blasted it into the bottom corner past the reach of Blackman to continue his scoring form.

Reading v Barnsley- Lucas Joao
Reading v Barnsley- Lucas Joao

Reading have two consecutive away games as they face Blackburn Rovers on Tuesday before a Friday night trip to Coventry City.

Reading: Rafael, Richards, Morrison, Moore (c), Esteves, Rinomhota, Laurent, Semedo, Ejaria, Meite, Puscas.
Subs: Southwood, McIntyre, Gibson, Tetek, Olise, Aluko, Joao

Rotherham: Blackman, Harding, Ihiekwe, Wood (c), Mattock, Wiles, Lindsay, MacDonald, Barlaser, Jozefzoon, Smith
Subs: Johansson, Jones, Olosunde, Crooks, Sadlier, Hirst, Lapado.

Goals: Meite 42′, 79′, Joao 90′

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