Championship: Cardiff 0 Reading 3

Reading earned their spot in the Championship playoff final with a 3-0 thrashing of Cardiff City on Tuesday.Brian McDermott’s men will meet Swansea City at Wembley on May 2 for the chance to play in the English Premier League next term, after Shane Long struck a brace and Jobi McAnuff scored an impressive third goal in their second-leg semi-final so seal a 3-0 aggregate victory.

Cardiff made a bright and frenetic start at Cardiff City Stadium, putting the visitors on the back foot in the opening 20 minutes.

They came close twice in a matter of minutes midway through the first half.

Attacker Jay Bothroyd had a strike from 20 yards take a deflection off Reading defender Zurab Khizanishvili and inches wide of goalkeeper Adam Federici’s post.

From the resulting corner, City defender Dekel Keinan struck a free header straight at Federici from inside six yards, and should have done much better.

But it was a horror piece of defending that allowed Reading to take the lead through Long in the 28th minute.

After a defensive mix-up, Cardiff goalkeeper Stephen Bywater came off his line to clear a loose ball, but only managed to strike Long, who hit a looping shot just under the crossbar and into the open net from 25 yards.

Long doubled their advantage on the stroke of half time when he completed his brace from the penalty spot.

Keinan dragged the arm of Reading captain Matt Mills as he attacked a corner and referee Howard Webb had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.

Long stepped up and coolly completed his double to make it 2-0.

Cardiff were expected to come out swinging in the second half as they fought to keep their sason alive, but instead it was Reading who made most of the running.

And after chances at either end throughout the second half, McAnuff ensured Reading’s progress to the play-off final with a divine solo effort in the 84th minute, which ended with the Jamaican smashing the ball home to send the visiting fans into frenzy.