Reading 1-0 Blackburn Rovers: Puscas punishes Rovers in his return
(Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

The Royals came into this one off a win at Rotherham United on the weekend, with centre-half Michael Morrison bagging the only goal of the game. 

Whilst Rovers have been in dire form at late, with no wins in their last six games. 

One goal was enough in this one, with George Puscas taking advantage of a mistake from Harvey Elliott inside the first-half to give Reading the lead.

Domination of possession in the second-half for Blackburn Rovers wasn't enough, with limited chances threatening Reading goalkeeper Rafael Cabral.

Two late chances from Ryan Nyambe and Adam Armstrong nearly stole an equaliser for Rovers, but Reading held on for all three points.

The game didn't live up to the hype of the reverse fixture, where Reading came away victorious 4-2. The Royals have done double over Rovers this year.

  • Story of the match

The first chance of the game fell to Romanian forward Puscas, who was making his first since November seventh, due to only returning from injury against Bristol City back in February. 

A perfectly whipped cross from Reading right-back Andy Yiadom landed on the head of Puscas, whose header was straight at Blackburn goalkeeper Thomas Kaminski to keep the game level on three minutes. 

Puscas nearly came up with a goal worthy of the Puskas award, his awareness to see Kaminski off the line was next to none. As soon as he received the ball on the half-way, with the first touch he went for goal, the ball crept over the bar, nearly catching Kaminski out.

Elliott is normally making the goals for Blackburn, but in this one, it was the polar opposite. He felt comfortable on the ball, but the pressure from Omar Richards drawn him towards the Rovers goal. Richards slid in and caught Elliott off guard, the ball fell to Lucas Joao inside the Blackburn area, unselfishly Joao found Puscas who slotted his effort into the net, to find his first goal since October 30th in the 3-2 win against Coventry City.

Ben Brereton came up with the two half-chances for Rovers in the first half. His first effort was slightly wide, and on the 42nd minute, he produced Blackburn's first shot on target.

Just before the half-time whistle, Brereton had a case for a penalty. His cross struck the arm of Richards, but it was extremely soft, as his arm was close to his side. If we were in the Premier League, it may have been a different story with VAR.

Adam Armstrong was unseeable in the first-half, but he had Rovers' best chance as Brereton seemed to foul Richards, the referee played on, for Armstrong to drag his shot wide on the edge of the area, taking a deflection in the process.

Blackburn tried mixing it up, bringing on Stewart Downing and Bradley Dack midway through the second half. Rovers were dominating the play, but their attacking presence was not good. 

Cabral nearly gifted Blackburn an equaliser, with Dack finding a cross inside the area, the ball slipped through Cabral's hands and ricocheted off defender Tom Holmes, back into his palms. A lucky escape for the Brazilian. 

A golden chance came towards the end for Blackburn. Brereton struck a pacy effort from 25 yards, parried from Cabral. The ball landed to the right food of full-back Nyambe, with bodies in the way, his effort was dragged wide. It was an opportunity for the 23-year-old to bag his first senior goal.

An even better chance came in the 91st minute, potentially the best chance of the match for Rovers, with a cross from Dack, finding the leagues second top goalscorer inside the area on his weaker foot. Armstrong drags the shot by the skin of his teeth.

Reading stay in fifth, holding more of a firm grip on the playoff spot. Blackburn seems to have put themselves into trouble, now winless in seven games, currently still in 15th, with tough fixtures ahead.

  • Takeaways

Puscas gives Reading a new attacking option... 

It wasn't a beautiful performance from the forward, but in your first start since November, there's nothing more perfect than scoring the winning goal in your return. 

The Romanian is lethal in front of the goal and has shown it before his injury. He linked up with Joao for his goal, and the two have shown they can play together, which could bring a deadly duo for the Royals.

Blackburn have dragged themselves into a dog fight...

Six defeats in their last seven games is simply not good enough for a team that was looking to be in a promotion fight at the start of the season, they now sit in a relegation battle. 

You wouldn't think in performances like tonight they have the second top goalscorer and second top assister in the league with Armstrong and Elliott putting in poor displays.

The eyes are on Sheffield Wednesday against Rotherham tomorrow night as it's 23rd vs 22nd. 

  • Man of the match

It's hard to give this one to anyone else bar Puscas. He did his job in scoring the only goal of the game. He led the charts on attempts and shots on target for the Royals

If Puscas stays fit and gets more starts under his belt, he could become a real force for Reading, and he will be worrying the teams fighting for promotion.

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