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Lucas puts Royals right.

Byline: IAN MURTAGH at John Smith's Stadium


READING 2 Lucas Joao 52, 65

LUCAS JOAO is back and Reading's promotion bid is up and running again.

The Portuguese striker bagged a second-half double on his return to the Royals' side as the visitors came from behind to put a dent in Huddersfield's fine home record.

Joao had been sidelined for a month with a soft tissue injury and Reading never looked quite the same without him. He barely had a look-in early on but eight minutes after the restart, Joao announced his comeback in style, latching on to a long punt from Tom McIntyre before coolly finding the net with a rightfoot finish.

But Reading's main man was just warming up.

In the 65th minute, he netted his 16th goal of the season, cleverly creating space on the edge of the box before unleashing a blistering drive.

Isaac Mbenza came close to rescuing a point for Huddersfield but Veljko Paunovic's side held on.

"It's a fantastic result especially after conceding that first goal," said the Royals boss. "I am so excited about that performance. That's a huge improvement in our mentality and identity."

Fraizer Campbell had headed the Terriers into the lead after six minutes.

The 33-year-old will probably go down as one of England's leastremembered internationals having come off the bench for the last 10 minutes in a friendly against Holland nine years ago.

But Campbell won't be forgotten if he helps guide hometown Huddersfield into the play-offs.

He outjumped Thomas Holmes to meet an excellent Mbenza cross to plant a header past Rafael.

However the Terriers could not build on this platform and once Joao struck, they never looked like securing a sixth win in a row at the John Smith's Stadium.

"The team started really well but by the end of the first half, they began to take control," said manager Carlos Corberan.

"Their equaliser was down to bad communication and after that, they grew in confidence."

Reading are showing definite signs of rediscovering their earlyseason form, particularly with Joao now back among the goals.

Sone Aluko went close on 31 minutes, shooting inches wide of the post and only a point-blank save by Ryan Schofield foiled Holmes' header.

But with Joao, Reading were not to be denied.

VITAL STATS HUDDERSFIELD READING 2 .........Shots on Target.........5 2 ........ Shots off Target.........2 4 ................ Corners ................4 17 .................. Fouls ...................9 1 ................. Offsides ................2 82.3.PassingSuccess%....84 514........Total Passes.......489 51.9...... Possession %......48.1 51.7... Territorial Adv % .48.3


FLYING HIGH Reading's Lucas Joao scores his second goal

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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:IAN MURTAGH at John Smith's Stadium
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 3, 2021
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