Manchester City have their place in Wembley after an unconvincing 1-0 win against Championship side Reading. Although they dominated the match, they found Reading's defence very difficult to breach, and it wasn't until the 74th minute that they got on the scoresheet following Micah Richards' bullet header past Alex McCarthy. McCarthy made a number of saves, but in truth the finishing from the likes of Carlos Tevez and David Silva was appalling, hitting the ball right at the Reading goalkeeper rather than giving him any real work to do.
City's auxiliary attackers didn't help much, with Aleksander Kolarov's delivery from corners very poor and his and Yaya Toure's long-range shooting efforts abysmal, particularly in the first half. After the interval, the team started to gel a little better, and nearly went ahead after Reading striker Shane Long flicked a corner towards his own goal only for Jay Tabb to clear off the line.
It was only a matter of time before they got the goal, and the Royals' heroic rearguard was fatally breached from another corner. Poor marking saw Richards slip away, and he met Silva's inch-perfect delivery with an emphatic finish through the hands of McCarthy and into the back of the net. It was harsh on the visiting defenders, who'd done everything that they could to keep the game scoreless, but their midfield and attack were giving the ball away so much that they couldn't possibly hope to keep the game at 0-0.
For all of Reading's work in defence, they could piece together nothing whatsoever on the attack, especially as Roberto Mancini gambled - correctly - that his five attacking players could keep the visitors pegged back, leaving two midfield slots for Nigel de Jong and Patrick Vieira, a shield that Reading simply couldn't work through. Miserable passing didn't help much either, especially from Jobi McAnuff, who had as poor a game as you're ever likely to see at this level. Although Reading finally put together a sustained attack very late (by which time the introduction of Mario Balotelli had forced the removal of Vieira anyway), the Royals never really threatened Joe Hart's goal.
Anyway, it was a game that City deserved to win, but not by very much, and indeed they won, but not by very much. The stage is now set for that rarest of things - a Manchester Derby in London. United are their opponents in the semifinals, and while the match against Reading was something of a damp squib, this one should be an absolute cracker.