Reading further strengthened their grip on fifth place in the Sky Bet Championship after they comfortably dispatched Darren Moore’s Sheffield Wednesday 3-0 at the Madejski Stadium.
A first-half goal from Michael Olise from the penalty spot opened the proceedings as Julian Borner was sent off for the Owls, and then second half goals from Lucas Joao and Andy Yiadom secured the three points in what was a comfortable afternoon for the Royals.
The win for the home side now means it’s three league wins in a row for Paunovic’s men, whilst for Sheffield Wednesday their hopes of avoiding the drop took another blow, with defeat against the Royals meaning it’s now six consecutive league defeats.
The first big opportunity of the match fell the way of Darren Moore’s Sheffield Wednesday just before the 15 minute mark as Tom Lees struck the crossbar with a headed effort from a Kadeem Harris corner.
Moments later, Reading had their first chance on goal. Centre-back Liam Moore swept the ball out to Andy Yiadom, who played it in to the feet of Joao who dummied it to Puscas who wrapped his foot around the ball, but fired it straight at Wildsmith from 18-yards.
The deadlock was broken though in the 28th minute by the Royals.
Puscas was played through on goal but was brought down by Julian Borner in the box with the Romanian one-on-one with Owls keeper Joe Wildsmith with the referee giving a penalty to the Royals, and sending off Borner in the process.
Olise picked up penalty duties following Lucas Joao’s recent run of penalty misses and he expertly fired the ball past Wildsmith to open the scoring for the home side.
The sending off or Borner saw a the flow of the game fall heavily in the home side’s favour and the home side looked the more likely to score and extend their lead in the first half.
Five minutes before half-time, Puscas had the ball on the edge of the box, he then slipped it into Olise’s path but he fired over the bar from a tight angle.
Just before the half-time whistle, the Royals had another chance to extend their lead as Liam Moore met an Olise corner with a free header, but his effort went straight into the palms of Wildsmith from no more than ten yards out.
In the second half, Reading continued to assert their authority and with just five minutes gone of the second half, the Royals nearly scored with two chances within a few minutes of eachother.
Firstly, Owls centre-back Urhoghide nearly sliced the ball into the back of his own net after a ball was whipped in by Omar Richards, but it went just wide of the post.
And from the proceeding corner, Lucas Joao hit the crossbar after he deftly flicked the ball with his backheel from Olise’s corner.
The home side’s onslaught on the Owls goal continued and they had another huge chance to make it 2-0 in the 65th minute.
Tom Holmes worked some space in the box but his low, fierce effort went inches wide of the right-hand post.
The second goal did come though for the Royals in the 69th minute. Olise did really well to find Yiadom in space down the right-flank, and he cut it back perfectly for Joao to stroke home from inside the box against his former club.
Paunovic’s side rubber-stamped their victory in the 87th minute, as Andy Yiadom found room down the right-hand side and proceeded into the box before smashing it past Wildsmith to make it 3-0.