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Reading 1-2 Arsenal (a.e.t.), FA Cup Semifinal: Move Along

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Arsenal clawed their way past a resilient Reading side to move on to their second straight FA Cup final.

same tho
same tho
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

0-1 Alexis Sanchez 39'
1-1 Garath McCleary 54'
1-2 Alexis Sanchez 106'

Well, that wasn't a lot of fun. Arsenal weren't at their best, and took everything Reading had to throw at them for 120 minutes, but at the end, somehow, the Gunners pulled it out and will play in the FA Cup final at the end of May with a chance to repeat as champions.

Almost all the possession went to Arsenal, and they had their chances. If memory serves Arsenal players hit the woodwork three times, with Aaron Ramsey's late miss one of the more painful ones. Gabriel -- a defensive replacement after Per Mertesacker had to leave with an injury -- also had a header well saved by Reading keeper Adam Federici (more on him later) that went off the crossbar. Reading's chances were fewer and farther between, but when Garath McCleary scored, things didn't look great for Arsenal. But while Reading were able to break forward dangerously a few times late, the defense recovered each time, and held fast.

Federici was good throughout, but similarly to Wojciech Szczesny on Reading's goal, was burned by his only mistakes. The first was less a mistake and more amazing play by Arsenal's two best players, as Mesut Ozil saw a pass nobody else did -- aside from maybe Alexis Sanchez, who read the ball perfectly, touched it down to himself, and finished deftly. It was an awesome goal and a great play by two spectacular players.

Arsenal's winner was...less great. Alexis again did well to take the ball inside from the left flank, and weaved between a few defenders to pull off a shot, but it was a pretty tame one that Federici went low to save. Only he didn't. Somehow it slipped between his arms, then between his legs, then over the line before he could dive back to throw it out. He was not pleased.

We were though, and now -- in case you forgot, from earlier -- Arsenal will move along to the final on May 30 to face the winner of tomorrow's Other Semifinal between Liverpool and Aston Villa. We won it last year, and it'd be pretty nice to win it again. So let's do that.