R’s run Hoops around Citizens
Written By: Robert Halter
Under the lights of Loftus Road an enthralling battle emerged as the Hoops charged towards the Citizens, the night before Remembrance Sunday. A surging run by Segio Aguero in the fourth minute ended with a blast over Robert Green’s crossbar. Then three minutes later, Charlie Austin thought he had scored but his header was ruled offside from an Eduardo Vargas cross, and lightning struck twice as Joe Hart miss timed his goal kick and Austin was at hand to roll the ball into the net again but referee Mike Dean ruled the goal out after Hart had taken two touches inside his area. On just under the quarter of the hour mark, a Sandro cross was flicked on by Bobby Zamora and then a glaring miss from Austin let the Citizens off the hook. Finally Austin struck gold and got his rewards by getting on the score sheet as Mauricio Isla’s threaded pass was latched upon by Austin, who drilled the ball into the bottom left corner as the R’s took a twentieth minute lead. Six minutes later, City threatened again from long distance with a bending strike from Yaya Toure which flew over the crossbar. But on thirty two minutes, there was more bad luck for QPR as from a floating ball over the top by Eliaquim Mangala, the ball was brought down by Aguero, and clipped his hand, before Aguero rammed his shot past a distraught Green but the goal stood despite the protest from the Hoops goalkeeper. Four minutes later, Green produced an important block to fend away an Aguero effort, after Bacary Sagna had provided the touch for Jesus Navas to carve an opening. But on forty three minutes, a mistake by Fernando let in Austin but a close range stop by Hart prevented him scoring and as the ball was played back in from Leroy Fer, the flag was raised for offside before Austin saw another strike saved by Hart. Before the start of the second half, Joey Barton took the place of Sandro. A minute into the re-start, Isla made a saving tackle from Aguero, after Nasri had combined with Navas. Two minutes later, Aguero turned provider but Nasri drilled a shot across the face of the goal. But the R’s responded in the fiftieth minute, when Isla’s delivery fell to Fer, whose well timed strike ricocheted off his own player Austin and then took a deflection off Martin Demichelis, who averted the danger. On just over the hour mark, the R’s produced a well worked move with Barton and Austin before Fernando intervened to stop Zamora. In the sixty third minute, Vargas pinged a ball over which cannoned off Steven Caulker, before missing the target, as the Hoops went back on the ascendancy. It was time for a City change as Edin Dzeko replaced Fernandinho but Dzeko pulled up with an injury within three minutes and Frank Lampard took his place. In the last throw of the dice, the Citizens took off Nasri for James Milner. Although City were soon chasing the game and went behind once more in the seventy fifth minute, when Austin’s in swinging cross from the right wing was targeted towards Zamora but Demichelis intervened and deflected the ball past his own keeper Hart to gift the Hoops the advantage. But two minutes later, hesitancy by Green let in Aguero and as he brushed past the R’s keeper, Richard Dunne had to clear the ball off the line. Although with just over ten minutes remaining, acrobatics by Vargas nearly produced dividends for QPR from a cross by Suk-Young Yun. But the Citizens pressed again and Caulker was forced to make a goal line clearance from Milner’s ball in. The pressure continued as Milner struck the bar and both Yaya Toure and Sagna went agonisingly close before the R’s resistance finally broke when Toure’s looping ball found Aguero, who rounded Green and found a way through the Rangers backline by planting his shot into the left side of the net. Neither team could find a late winner as Barton blocked Toure’s goal bound effort and Austin sent a glancing header wide from a Vargas corner as the points were shared after a pulsating encounter.