Fulham beat Reading to go second in Championship

Fulham beat Reading to go second in Championship
Stefan Johansen’s eighth league goal of the season gave Fulham the lead before half-time

Fulham climbed up to second in the Championship as Stefan Johansen’s strike saw them beat relegation-threatened Reading.

The Norway international’s eighth league goal of the season came against the run of play in the first half as he finished a low Matt Targett cross.

Reading midfielder Leandro Bacuna was shown a late red card for a rash challenge on full-back Ryan Sessegnon.

Fulham are now unbeaten in 20 league games after a fourth straight win.

Slavisa Jokanovic’s side move into the automatic promotion places with four games to play after Cardiff were beaten 1-0 at Aston Villa.

Fulham are a point ahead of the Bluebirds, but have played a game more than Cardiff.

Defeat for Reading still leaves them in danger of being drawn into the relegation zone. They remain five points above the bottom three in 19th, but third-from-bottom Barnsley have a game in hand on Paul Clement’s side.

The Royals started the brighter of the two sides, but were punished when the ball broke kindly to Johansen inside the penalty area and he slotted in an effort Vito Mannone could not hold.

The midfielder spurned chances to extend his goal tally and Fulham’s lead after the break when Mannone’s fingertip save denied his well-placed shot from Sessegnon’s cross.

Reading’s chances of finding a late equaliser were further hit when Bacuna caught Sessegnon with a late tackle in stoppage time.

Fulham boss Slavisa Jokanovic:

“The table’s not important, the situation is still not under our control as Cardiff have one game more. This is the situation. We are not thinking so much about the position.

“On one hand we’ve guaranteed one target, the play-offs. The next step is the Brentford game and we will be aiming to win the game.

“I don’t know how Cardiff feel. We’ve made our first target. We need to be ready for our next step. Everything is in their hands and we want to make it our job to put them under pressure.”

Reading manager Paul Clement told BBC Radio Berkshire:

“If I reflect over my four games in charge, that’s one of the best performances we have had, but we haven’t got the result and played a much higher level of opposition.

“Up to the goal we are playing well. I am disappointed with the way it finished, going down to 10 men, as Leandro Bacuna isn’t available now.

“We had the hardest fixture tonight, and we pushed a very good team close to the very end.

“If we play with that passion and will to win, we’ll be good.”

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