How the Bookies See it:
- Match Winner: Fulham 7/5, Reading 21/10, Draw 5/2, - Bet365
- First Goalscorer: Chris Martin (FUL) 11/2, Cyriac (FUL) 13/2, Lewis Grabban (REA) 13/2 - Bet365
- To Qualify: Fulham 4/6, Reading 11/10 - BoyleSports
What Happened in the First Leg?
Tempers flared in Saturday’s game at Craven Cottage as Fulham and Reading drew 1-1 in the first leg of their play-off semi-final. The Royals had taken the lead thanks to Jordan Obita’s low driving shot, but the home side soon hit back as Tom Cairney grabbed his 13th goal of the season.
In a game of fearsome challenges, Reading were reduced to ten men on 80 minutes following the dismissal of skipper Paul McShane. The Irishman saw red after committing a dangerous challenge on Fulham’s Kevin McDonald, leaving Jaap Stam’s side without their captain ahead of Tuesday’s crucial second leg.
Despite heading into the second leg with home advantage, Reading are not being tipped by the bookies to make it to Wembley. The Royals are 85/40 with BetVictor to grab the win they need and 11/10 to qualify for their first play-off final since 2011. If the Berkshire club are to overcome the odds, they will need to keep the league’s joint-highest scoring team at bay without the defensive capabilities of Paul McShane. This promises to be a tough task, but Jaap Stam’s men are more than capable, especially with Ali Al Habsi between the sticks. The former Wigan stopper has kept 15 clean-sheets this term, the joint-third most of any keeper in the division, and is priced at 3/1 (Paddy Power) to add one more to his tally in this game, while a win to nil also looks appealing at 5/1.
However, should Reading’s backline be breached, the Madejski faithful will be praying that this season’s top scorer, Yann Kermorgant, can add to his impressive haul. The well-travelled Frenchman, who has netted 18 times and provided three this term, is 7/1 with Bet365 to open the scoring and 11/5 to score anytime.
“We must be ready, we must be better for what's going to come.” The rallying cry issued by Fulham manager Slavisa Jokanovic following Saturday’s first leg stalemate. Despite the disappointing result, the Serbian coach remains positive that he will be standing in the Wembley dugout later this month. If the Cottagers are to play under the arch at the national stadium, they will need to overcome a Reading team who have lost just twice on home soil this season, but with on-loan Derby striker Chris Martin in fine form, the travelling supporters may be given plenty to sing about. The 28-year-old is 11/4 (William Hill) to score anytime in a Fulham win, while a brace from the Scotland international is priced at 9/1 with Betfred.
There was nothing to choose between the two teams on Saturday evening and the same could apply in their upcoming clash. At 5/2 with BetVictor, another draw looks to be a good bet, while extra time and penalties are a real possibility, especially with away goals meaning nothing in the play-offs. Sky Bet are offering odds of 6/1 that the tie will be settled from the spot, a price that looks too good to miss.
- Sports.net’s Top Tip: Either team to win on penalties 6/1 - Sky Bet
*Please note, odds may fluctuate.