Arsenal’s u23s’ second match of the Premier League International Cup ended in a 0-0 draw against Reading.
Last time out, the Gunners narrowly beat the defending champions of the competition, F.C. Porto B, 1-0 [Edit – it was quite the wonder goal wot won it]. By comparison, Reading were the underdogs of the group, coming from the second tier of English u23 football.
However, far from being the group’s guaranteed win for Arsenal, Reading put up a good fight on Thursday night, and seemed just as likely as the Gunners to break the deadlock in the first half if it hadn’t been for a good performance from Matt Macey.
Macey had to make a few solid saves throughout the match, in particular from Danny Loader, who ran through on goal in the first half. At the other end, Joe Willock had the best chance of the opening period, Eddie Nketiah had a couple of opportunities, and Akpom saw a shot saved late on, but the two sides went into the interval scoreless.
The story was similar in the second period, and as the game progressed Reading started to get more involved, forcing a couple of mistakes in the Arsenal defence. But it was Arsenal who ended up putting the ball in the back of the net from an Eddie Nketiah finish on the rebound, only for it to be ruled out for offside.
Overall, Arsenal still got the point they needed to top the group with two games gone, although Bayern could still catch them with their games in hand. The Gunners face the German side in their final match of the group stages early next year.
Line up (3-4-2-1): Macey; Sheaf, Debuchy, Pleguezuelo; Osei Tutu, Dasilva, Willock, Dragomir; Nelson, Nketiah; Akpom
Subs: Medley (for Debuchy), Smith Rowe (for Akpom). Unused: Keto, Gilmour, T. Bola.