READING booked their place in the FA Cup fifth round as they defeated Cardiff City on penalties after a thrilling six goal tie which went to extra-time.
Josh Murphy and Robert Glatzel gave Cardiff a two goal lead before Reading made a brilliant comeback with goals from Omar Richards and Andy Rinomhota to take the tie to extra-time.
Murphy capitalised on a Gabriel Osho mistake to give Cardiff the lead for the third time in the tie but Yakou Meite levelled with just five minutes of extra-time remaining with a superb volley.
The Royals held their nerve from the spot as McCleary, Osho, Obita and Aluko all scored, with goalkeeper Sam Walker saving from Aden Flint to see Reading progress 4-1 on penalties.
The game had to be settled by a replay after the sides drew 1-1 at the Madejski Stadium, before a repeat scoreline with identical scorers in their meeting last Friday night in the Championship in their third meeting in just eleven days.
Mark Bowen made six changes from the team that earned a 1-1 in the Championship just four days ago at the Cardiff City Stadium.
Cardiff had the best of the opening 15 minutes of the game as Danny Ward went close after his shot flew wide of the far post after Tyler Blackett put his body in the way of his effort to take it wide.
Having had the better of the half, Cardiff went in front in the 20th minute. Charlie Adam uncharacteristically gave the ball away in a dangerous area as Josh Murphy strode forward and dispatched the ball past Sam Walker into the bottom corner.
Very much on the back foot, the Royals night almost got worse immediately after going behind as Ward wasted a great chance to double their lead as he lofted the ball over the bar just 12 yards from goal.
Reading began to grow in to the tie having been alarmed by Cardiff’s opener as George Puscas had a couple of half chances, turning a Yakou Meite cross around the post before Neil Ethteridge comfortably saved his header from Chris Gunter’s cross.
Meite then tried an outrageous effort from an Adam free kick as he hooked his foot to the ball with a scorpion kick which Etheridge did well to turn away from goal to maintain the hosts lead going into half-time.
Bowen made two changes going into the second half with Sone Auko and Garath McCleary replacing Adam and Puscas after a lacklustre opening 45 minutes.
Despite the half-time changes, Reading struggled at the start of the second half which led to Cardiff doubling their lead just seven minutes to place one foot in the next round.
Robert Glatzel broke free of Reading’s attempted offside trap and rolled the ball past the onrushing Walker to put the Bluebirds in a commanding position in the tie.
Half-time substitute Aluko came close to making an impact as Reading looked to get back into the cup tie as he unleashed a powerful shot, but goalkeeper Etheridge got his body behind the ball to keep it out.
With just over 20 minutes to go, Reading pulled themselves back into the game as Omar Richards met Blackett’s cross and thumped a header past the keeper.
Bowen’s side continued to pile the pressure on Cardiff and were rewarded as their third substitute of the night, Andy Rinomhota, levelled the tie as he connected with a volley which flew past Etheridge.
Reading looked the more likely to steal a third goal and progress, but Cardiff held on after Rinomhota and Blackett both went close as the tie went into extra-time.
Osho under-hit a back pass header to his goalkeeper as Murphy raced onto the loose ball and slotted the ball past Walker to score his second of the evening in the 93rd minute.
Remarkably, Reading came back into the tie for a third time as Meite found the back of the net with a sweet strike to level the scores with just five minutes of extra-time to play.
Reading booked their place and a fifth round tie against Sheffield United with a 4-1 victory on penalties.
Cardiff: Etheridge, Bagan, Flint, Bamba, Richards, Pack, Vaulks, Murphy, Ward, Whyte, Glatzel
Subs: Bennett, Morrison, Smithies, Paterson, San, Bowen, Mayembe
Reading: Walker, Blackett, Morrison Osho, Richards, Gunter, Adam, Pele, Swift, Puscas, Meite.
Subs: Rinomhota, Baldock, Obita, McCleary, Aluko, Andresson, Dorsett.
Goals: Murphy 20′, 93′, Glatzel 52′, Richards 71′, Rinomhota 79′, Meite 115′