We were all expecting a defeat for Reading in Saturday evening’s pre-season friendly against Sevilla, but in the end the game proved to be much more even than we’d feared. The Royals were on the wrong side of a 2-1 defeat to the Spanish side, but can still feel pretty good about a solid performance against very strong opposition.
Andrija Novakovich was our goalscorer, heading home from a Jordan Holsgrove corner in the second half. However, Julen Lopetegui’s team equalised from the spot through former Manchester City player Nolito after Gabriel Osho handled the ball in the box, before winning it late on through Lara.
Ultimately, it was Sevilla’s quality that shone through, with Reading having to withstand a lot of pressure but not being able to get over the line. Nonetheless, there is of course no shame in going up against former Europa League winners and coming away with a narrow defeat.
There was also an, ahem, interesting moment during the first half when Reading’s assistant manager Jorge Mendonca was sent off for complaining on the pitch about some fiesty tackles from the opposition.
He's off! Mendonca has been sent off for entering the field and losing his rag. No such thing as a friendly when he's involved. Two really heavy challenges on Loader and Olise and Mendonca lost his cool. #readingfc— Courtney Friday (@ChronCourtney) July 13, 2019
As with the Gibraltar United friendly in midweek, Reading named two teams - one for each half.
First half: Walker; Howe, Moore, McInytre, Blackett; Swift, Rinomhota; Meite, Olise, Barrow; Loader
Second half: Andresson; Watson, Odimayo, Osho, Richards; Frost, East, Boadu, Holsgrove; Baldock, Novakovich
There was no involvement for new signing Joao Virginia, while Denzeil Boadu again played as a triallist. Josh Barrett didn’t feature at all, so could be injured. Those teams are very similar to how Reading lined up against Gibraltar United either side of the half-time break, which adds to the suggestion that Jose Gomes has decided on his current first team - although Andy Yiadom and Virginia would be in it when they’re eventually involved.
The ‘first’ team is a particularly attacking one. The formation appears to be a 4-2-3-1, with plenty of pace and movement in the attacking trio (Modou Barrow, Michael Olise and Yakou Meite) behind Danny Loader. John Swift has lined up quite deep in pre-season - in a two-man midfield in front of the back four - which could suggest that Gomes wants him there next season. It’s a trick we tried early on in Gomes’ time at the club last campaign.
Reading have four more games to play in Spain before their pre-season stay is over. First up on Tuesday is the double-header of Malaga B (morning) and Extremadura (evening), before another double-header on Saturday: Lincoln City (morning) and Granada (evening). Find more info about all of that here: