A brace from Alexis Sanchez helped Arsenal beat Reading 2-1 in extra time in an FA Cup semi-final clash at Wembley Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The Gunners started well and their first chance fell to Danny Welbeck but his close-range effort was well saved by Adam Federici. The Royals goalkeeper was a busy man in the opening exchanges and had to be at his very best to deny Per Mertesacker.
The giant German did well to find himself some space inside the six-yard box and fired an excellent header Federici’s way but the Reading keeper was equal to it. Steve Clarke’s side grew into the game as the half wore on and was more than a match for Arsene Wenger’s team but then in the 39th minute the Gunners broke the deadlock. Mesut Oezil chipped a wonderful pass over the Royals’ defence and Sanchez finished with aplomb.
Clarke’s team was unlucky to be trailing 1-0 at the break but they responded brilliantly in the second-half. In the 54th minute Gareth McCleary drew his side level with a deflected volley. Both teams had chances to win it in the second period but the game went to extra-time.
Federici was excellent all day long but it was his mistake that gifted the Gunners the winner. The Reading goalkeeper let a tame effort from Sanchez squirm between his legs into the back of the net. Arsenal held on to claim a 2-1 victory and advance to their second consecutive FA Cup final.