Puscas pounces to get Reading up and running
The win represented Reading’s first points of the 2019-20 season.
Cardiff fell to a tame 3-0 defeat at Reading, who had George Puscas to thank for getting them off the mark in the Sky Bet Championship.
Puscas, the Royals’ £7.2million record signing from Inter Milan, did the main damage with two first-half goals. John Swift added Reading’s third seven minutes from the end after a quick counter-attack.
The home side missed a great chance to make it four, when Yakou Meite’s late penalty was saved.
Reading went into the game bottom of the table, and the only Championship side without a point after two rounds of matches.
The match was preceded by a minute’s silence in memory of Thames Valley police officer Andrew Harper, who was killed in an incident while on duty on Thursday evening.
Reading threatened first when Puscas shot across the face of goal from a promising position. Joe Ralls then tested Royals goalkeeper Rafael, making his home debut, with a powerful 20-yard shot.
Puscas continued to look dangerous and was rewarded with a superb goal – his second for the club – in the 25th minute.
He set off on a mazy run from near the halfway line, skipped past Will Vaulks and cut in before curling a left-foot shot past goalkeeper Alex Smithies.
Cardiff looked rattled and were breached again five minutes before the break.
Swift crossed from the right and Puscas, racing in at the near post, poked the ball past Smithies.
Cardiff manager Neil Warnock gambled at the break, bringing on substitutes Callum Paterson and Isaac Vassell.
Warnock had already used a replacement, Curtis Nelson, in the first half.
But it did little to improve Cardiff’s attacking ideas, with Reading continuing to look the more composed going forward.
Omar Richards appeared to have set up Puscas for his hat-trick on the edge of the area, but the Romanian was crowded out at the last moment.
Lucas Joao missed a series of chances on the counter-attack but Rafael had to save acrobatically from Robert Glatzel’s fierce drive.
Cardiff’s fate was sealed in the 83rd minute when Swift broke away on the right to beat Smithies with an angled shot.
And they were indebted to Smithies in stoppage time, when he saved a Meite penalty after Sean Morrison had brought down Andy Yiadom.