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Reading end Bradford's thrilling FA Cup run

Jamie Mackie scored for Reading's FA Cup heroes
Jamie Mackie scored for Reading's FA Cup heroes

Reading manager Steve Clarke is hoping to take over from Bradford as FA Cup underdogs after seeing his side knock the League One outfit of the competition and set up a semi-final meeting with Arsenal.

Following a drab goalless draw in the initial tie, Reading welcomed Bradford to the Madejski Stadium on Monday night and eased to a 3-0 victory against 10 men to reach just a second semi-final in the history of the club.

Hal Robson-Kanu headed home in the sixth minute before a deflected Garath McCleary shot doubled their advantage shortly afterwards.

Filipe Morais was sent off for a high kick on Nathaniel Chalobah before Jamie Mackie thrashed home a third to send the Royals to Wembley.

And now Clarke wants to replicate the kind of cup giant-killing exploits of Bradford - who knocked out Chelsea and Sunderland on their way to the sixth round.

"You see tonight what it means to us," he said of Reading's cup run.

"We go to the semi-final a difficult game against Arsenal but we go there with hope and belief that maybe we can continue the good work of Bradford. Bradford have been fantastic underdogs in this tournament this year and we look to pick up the baton now and do it in the semi-final."

Clarke made 11 changes to the side which slipped to a 4-1 defeat at Watford in the Championship on Saturday and believes he made the right decision to do so,

"I am paid to do a job for the club and I have to do what is correct for the football club and I think I did that," he added.

"I am pleased for the players - it has been a difficult season for them. It was very comfortable because we got off to a great start. From there we controlled the game very, very well and the third goal was the one that killed it. It was a very comfortable night."

Bradford boss Phil Parkinson, who was given a warm reception at the Madejski Stadium having enjoyed a distinguished 11-year playing career with Reading, felt the stuffing had been knocked out of his players following the hosts' lightning start.

"Reading were the better team on the night and we gave ourselves a mountain to climb," he said.

"They played with a spring in their step after that and we found it difficult to respond. A two-goal lead after 10 minutes lifted the whole crowd and their players but we have got to be immensely proud.

"This is tough to take, we wanted to progress but we have got to quickly move on and reflect on this year's competition.

"When you have these cup runs as a lower-league side there is always a danger you will have an off-day. The lads were deflated on the pitch and I couldn't wait to get them into the dressing room at half-time to give them a lift."