2014 FA Cup winners Arsenalreached a record 19th FA CupFinal, as a brace from Alexis Sánchez helped overcome aplucky Reading after extra-time atWembley. The Chilean forward, who has been Arsenal’s talisman this season,added two more goals to take his tally to 22 since his summer arrival fromBarcelona.

The Gunners dominated their Championship opponents in the firsthalf; German inspirational playmaker MesutOzil cracked the Royals’ defence in the 39th minute with anexquisite, clipped pass to the former Los Cules man, who sent the ball through Adam Federici’s legs from 6 yards.

Reading got themselves back into the game nine minutes after thebreak, as Garath McCleary volleyedan equaliser in for the Royals, from Russian striker Pavel Pogrebnyak’s cross,squeezed from a close, tight angle. Although Arsenal’s keeper Wojciech Szczesny gothands on the ball, he was not able to prevent it from crossing the line.

Thereafter, Reading had the post and keeper Federici to thank for keepingthe scores level, as the game headed into an extra 30 minutes.

The Royals’ keeper produced some world class one-handed saves; hesaved former Villa Real defender Gabriel’s header, as well as Welsh midfielderRamsey’s low shot from 25 yards out.

However,unlucky Federici made a gaffe in the106th minute, just before the first period of extra time, as Sánchez’s tamed effort took aslight deflection, spilled through the keeper’s hands and legs, and trickledover the line to the delirium of the Gunners fans, although Reading pushedArsenal for another equaliser right till the end, refusing to accept defeat.

With the eightminutes remaining, Arsenal’s in-form striker Olivier Giroud hit the post and,despite Reading sending long balls into the opponent’s box, the Gunners did notbuckle under pressure; they will now face the winners of Sunday’s semi-finalbetween Aston Villa and Liverpool, as they look to lift the FA Cup for a record12th time.

As for Reading, this was their first FA semi-final since1927, which ended in tears for their goalkeeper.

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