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Reading keeper's error sees Arsenal reach FA Cup final

The Cup holders slid into the final following an error by Reading’s goalkeeper Adam Federici.

Arsenal's Chilean striker Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring their second goal during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Stoke City at the Emirates Stadium in London on 11 January, 2015. Arsenal won the game 3-0. Picture: AFP

LONDON - FA Cup holders Arsenal were taken to extra time before a horrendous error by Reading goalkeeper Adam Federici brought the Championship side's dream to an end in a 2-1 semi-final defeat on Saturday.

Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez snatched his second goal at the end of the first extra period to subdue the plucky second-tier strugglers, but his tame goal bound shot barely trickled over the line after being spilled by the devastated Federici.

It was an unfortunate way to decide a pulsating cup tie in which Reading's spirit and sheer will to win allowed Garath McCleary to equalise for Steve Clarke's side early in the second half after Sanchez had given Arsenal a 39th-minute lead.

Arsenal, who were playing in their record 28th FA Cup semi-final, will now face either Liverpool or Aston Villa, who play their last-four clash on Sunday, in the final on 30 May.

If it was supposed to be a one-sided stroll in the park at Wembley for Arsene Wenger's side, Reading had other ideas.

While Arsenal had the best of the early chances, with defender Per Mertesacker's header drawing an excellent low save from Federici and Mesut Ozil bending a free kick a fraction off target, it all looked laboured.

They did, however, open the scoring when Ozil adjusted his sights to pick out Sanchez with a pinpoint lofted ball into the box and the Chilean twisted, paused and turned before sliding his finish beneath Federici.

The advantage lasted nine minutes into the second half as Reading came out snarling with intent and purpose.