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Reading Fail To Win In First Two Friendlies In The Netherlands

A defeat and a draw against Belgian and Turkish opponents respectively for Stam’s side.

Manchester United v Reading - The Emirates FA Cup Third Round Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

After beating QPR twice at Hogwood last week, Reading suffered defeat for the first time in pre-season as they were beaten in one friendly in the Netherlands before drawing a second.

Early in the afternoon, a side largely made up of academy players along with the likes of Paul McShane, Stephen Quinn and Jordan Obita suffered a 1-0 loss in Oosterbeek to Belgian side KV Kortrijk.

Idir Ouali scored the only goal of the game with a header around the hour mark, whilst there was a bit of drama at the end of the game as a reckless challenge on Sam Smith by Kortrijk’s Bryan Verboom resulted in an on the pitch scuffle and a red card for the defender.

Line-Up vs KV Kortrijk: Legg (Ward 45’), Frost, Obita (Richards 67’), McShane, Cooper, East, Quinn, Rinomhota, Barrett, Loader, Smith

A couple of hours later in Papendal, a completely different XI kicked off against Gençlerbirliği of Turkey. This was a much more experienced Royals side, and one that is perhaps fairly close to the team that will line up on the opening day of the Championship season in three weeks’ time. They were able to hold their opponents to a 2-2 draw.

Abdul Khalili scored the opening goal within the first ten minutes after Anssi Jaakkola had tipped Marko Milinković’s effort on to the crossbar. Reading’s equaliser seven minutes from time came in similar fashion as Tyler Blackett’s effort was pushed on to post before Adrian Popa tapped home the rebound - a second goal in as many pre-season games for the Romanian.

But they were level for just two minutes as Gençlerbirliği netted a winner courtesy of yet another rebound. Jaakkola was able to save Etien Velikonja’s shot, but could do nothing about Ahmet Ilhan following in. It looked as though the Royals would taste defeat once again, but Roy Beerens curled his strike into the top corner from 20 yards out with the last kick of the game to secure a draw.

Line-Up vs Gençlerbirliği: Jaakkola, Gunter, Blackett, Ilori, Moore, van den Berg, Kelly, Evans, Beerens, Clement (Richards 59’), Popa

Ultimately, failing to win these two games isn’t a huge concern and what is more important is that fitness levels are increasing and that Jaap Stam makes sure his team is 100% ready to go when August 5th rolls around. Stephen Quinn getting 90 minutes in the bag for example, is a big plus considering he missed most of last season through injury.

The squad still have a week left in the Netherlands and play another double header of friendlies against Sparta Rotterdam and Cercle Brugge next Saturday.