LIVERPOOL (1) VS READING (2)
LIVERPOOL boss Rafael Benitez questioned Reading’s equaliser after seeing his side’s wretched season lurch to a new low with elimination from the FA Cup at the hands of the Championship strugglers.
A Ryan Bertrand own goal put the Reds ahead but a 92nd-minute penalty, scored by Gylfi Sigurdsson, brought the Royals level before substitute Shane Long’s headed winner completed the upset in extra time.
And to compound Liverpool’s misery, captain Steven Gerrard and striker Fernando Torres both limped off before the second half following fresh injury scares.
Reading’s first ever win at Anfield ensures they will meet Burnley in round four but Benitez, whose side join Manchester United in suffering a third-round exit, appeared unhappy at the visitors’ penalty award.
“The penalty was a crucial decision,” he said. “I think we can talk about this for one hour. There were too many things I didn’t like but I can’t change those things now and we have to accept the situation.”
Already out of the Champions League and Carling Cup, and 12 points off the pace in the Premier League, Liverpool went into the tie knowing the FA Cup was perhaps their best chance of silverware. The mood was elevated before kick-off when new signing Maxi Rodriguez, a free transfer from Atletico Madrid, was introduced to the Kop.
Reading, who have spent all season in the bottom eight of the Championship, impressed in forcing a replay but were not expected to repeat the feat at Anfield.
Yet the visitors went close twice, through Grzegorz Rasiak and Simon Church, before captain Gerrard earned Liverpool the lead on the stroke of half-time, his cross ricocheting off the luckless Bertrand and in at the Adam Federici’s near post.
Jobi McAnuff looked to have blown Reading’s best chance when the midfielder waltzed from his own half into the Reds area, only to side-foot wide. But a reprieve came in injury time when Phil Dowd ruled Long had been fouled, and Ingimarsson scored from the spot.
Reading struck the killer blow 10 minutes into extra rime, Brynjar Gunnarsson bamboozling two defenders before delivering a pin-point cross that Long could not miss.
Lovenkrands hits treble as Magpies sink Plymouth
NEWCASTLE?striker Peter Lovenkrands smashed the perfect hat-trick as the Magpies stormed into the FA?Cup fourth round with a 3-0 win over Plymouth.
Dane Lovenkrands scored with his left foot, head and right foot to settle the replay at St James’ Park and book a trip to fellow Championship pacesetters West Brom.
Lovenkrands got the home side off to the perfect start when he converted a Jonas Gutierrez cut-back after just 10 minutes.
Argentina winger Gutierrez also laid on the second, Lovenkrands nodding home his inswinging cross from the left five minutes before the break.
And in the 72nd minute Newcastle’s star man sealed his treble, turning in from close range after Kevin Nolan played across goal.