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Gunners' 4-goal Cup rally shocks Reading

Arsenal staged a stunning League Cup fightback at Reading after trailing 4-0 in the first half on Tuesday, advancing to the quarterfinals with a 7-5 extra-time victory after Theo Walcott scored a hat trick.

Some Arsenal fans left in the first half after seeing Reading dominate against its Premier League rival.

But after Walcott pulled one back just before halftime, he took the game into extra time with a stoppage-time equalizer after goals from Olivier Giroud and Laurent Koscielny.

"It was an unbelievable game. I'm absolutely knackered now," Walcott said.

Marouane Chamakh put Arsenal ahead for the first time in extra time, but Reading drew level again when Pavel Pogrebnyak made it 5-5 with four minutes to go.

But Walcott completed his hat trick and Chamakh grabbed another in the closing exchanges to ensure Arsenal advanced.

"You always see new things in our game, that's why it's never boring," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said. "It was a tennis match today. They had a fantastic start, we were not sharp and it was 4-0 and could have been one or two more. ... You cannot play for Arsenal and give up."

Three Premier League clubs -- Southampton, Sunderland and Wigan -- were beaten by lower-league opposition.

The biggest shock came at Wigan where fourth-tier Bradford won 4-2 on penalty kicks after a 0-0 tie. Southampton lost 3-0 to Leeds, which got goals from Michael Tonge and El-Hadji Diouf and a penalty kick by Luciano Becchio to reach the quarterfinals for the first time since 1996.

Middlesbrough advanced when Scott McDonald scored in a 1-0 victory at northeast rival Sunderland.

Aston Villa eliminated third-tier Swindon 3-2 on Christian Benteke's 90th minute goal off a cross from American defender Eric Lichaj.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.


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