It’s been called the richest game in football or the game that’s worth £90million to the winner. Last night, Cardiff gave a display that might have made you think whether they can be bothered with promotion to the top flight. 3-0 is a capitulation wherever it takes place. In the home leg of biggest game of your season, it’s almost unthinkable.
Of the three goals that visitors Reading scored, two can be put down to errors in Cardiff’s back line. Only the third, a sublime individual effort from Jobi McAnuff could be given a massive amount of credit. By then, the game was over as a contest and the visitors supporters were already dreaming of a Wembley final against the Championship’s other Welsh side Swansea.
Cardiff will have to go back to the drawing board and could now even be pipped to becoming Wales’ first Premier League side. The Bluebirds sorely felt Craig Bellamy’s absence as their attack of Michael Chopra and Jay Bothroyd was easily blunted by Reading’s defense.
Dave Jones is likely to feel the club’s exit more than most as he fights to save his ever-precarious position as boss of the side from the Welsh capital.
“Despite having taken part in two recent play-offs Cardiff have come up short, which may cost Dave Jones his job,” said Hill’s spokesman Graham Sharpe.
As for their Welsh neighbors, the final gives manager Brendan Rodgers a chance to put one over on the side who sacked him less than two years ago. It’s anyone’s guess who’ll be promoted to the Premier League. With red-hot forward Shane Long, Reading might just about edge it.