They may be eyeing contrasting targets but Rangers and Spurs had it all to play for at Loftus Road this evening. Here’s what happened.
Let’s do this. It’s been a busy day already in cross-channel football and before we all settle down for El Clasico after tea, let’s have a little bit of QPR v Spurs. Here are your teams:
QPR: Kenny, Diakite, Hill, Derry, Taarabt, Mackie, Barton, Taiwo, Ferdinand, Onuoha, Zamora.
Subs: Cerny, Gabbidon, Traore, Buzsaky, Helguson, Cisse, Wright-Phillips
Spurs: Friedel; Walker, Gallas, King, Assou-Ekotto; Parker, Sandro; Modric, van der Vaart, Bale; Defoe.
Subs: Cudicini, Bongani Khumalo, Rose, Adam Smith, Lennon, Livermore, Giovani
Who do you fancy?
We’re about to get going at Loftus Rd with the skippers Joey Barton and Ledley King in the centre circle.
This could be an open one. Bot sides have had their first attempts on goal logged in the stats books. First Spurs rushed forward through that lad Modric. The Croat clipped the ball out to Walker on the left who was fouled. The subsequent free dropped to to Assou-Ekotto under that head of hair but his shot fizzed over. Moments later Jamie Mackie drove forward and got a shot off of his own but it didn’t trouble Friedel.
Rangers have had the better of the first 10 minutes and have looked lively. “The smallest ground in the Premier League but certainly not the quietest, says Jon Champion before he divulges the club’s curious dining arrangements for its corporate clients. (They eat elsewhere and get a bus to the ground. Woe!) In the meantime, Diakite picks up a pass from Ferdinand in midfield and drifts past Modric, Parker et al before dragging a shot wide of Friedel’s far post.
Spurs — without Adebayor — are looking timid, according to co-commentator Chris Waddle, and I’d have to agree. Newcastle, let’s remember, moved into fourth place earlier with a very impressive demolition of Stoke on Tyneside. If the north Londoners are to reclaim that Champions League spot they’ll have to wake up here. QPR were 3-1 with some bookies beforehand I’m told.
Good save! Paddy Kenny gets a strong hand to a Gareth Bale header to put it over. VDV fired in a corner, the Welsh winger rose highest but his effort was straight at the former Ireland international. 2o minutes gone.
GOAL! QPR break the deadlock through a Adel Taarabt free-kick after 24 minutes.
So the home fans get the goal they wanted… through their former Spurs man. Loftus Road sings: “Taarabt’s too good for you” as Harry Redknapp looks on. Brad Friedel may have some explaining to do at half-time, meanwhile, as his positioning on the goal seemed a tad off while the Tottenham wall was pretty ineffective. 27 minutes gone.
Yellow card for the goalscorer Taarabt as he pulls down Kyle Walker right on the edge of the box close to the dead-ball line. Van der Vaart stands over it, as Waddle insists ‘he should shoot from here. The Dutchman instead whips it in from the acute angle and the ball is cleared. 42 minutes gone now.
Ooof! Joey Barton knew little of that but he almost looped the ball over Friedel, who seems to be struggling with the early evening sunlight. Everyone’s favourite/most hated Tweeter took a shot on goal which was blocked by Parker but it bounced off Barton again and nearly dipped under the bar. We’re in injury time in the first period as I type now.
Half-time: QPR 1 Spurs 0, Harry Redknapp walks to the tunnel shaking his head in dismay. This is a long way from the free-flowing Tottenham we all enjoyed watching at the start of the season while QPR are on the road to a crucial three points.
We’re about to get underway again in west London and Harry’s decided it’s time to get this side going again. Lennon is on for Sandro, offering Spurs two real wingers again. VDV will go in behind Defoe presumably.
Twitter is ablaze with Spurs fans who suddenly thing maybe Harry Redknapp is the right man for England. Despite that change of Lennon for Sandro at half-time they look no closer to arresting this incredible slump in form and will, if this continues, miss out on Champions League football again. Jermain Defoe has had a couple of opportunities since the break but hasn’t managed to really test Paddy Kenny while the Loftus Road faithful are growing yet louder.
This game might be pretty underwhelming for the neutral, but Miguel Delaney is liveblogging Barcelona v Real Madrid over here. Lucky.
In the meantime, Bobby Zamora had a chance to make it 2-0 but failed to do so.
70 minutes. And Van der Vaart should have equalised. The ball broke to the midfielder inside the box, dropping invitingly, but he swung wildly and it flew over. That typifies a frustrating evening’s work for Spurs.
RED CARD! Adel Taarabt has been sent off and confusion reigns.
So it looks like Taarabt was awarded a second yellow for kicking the ball away in frustration at giving away a free kick to Kyle Walker. Referee Mark Clattenburg didn’t seem to realise that the Moroccan was in his book already — but 16 seconds later — he revisited the scene of the crime and gave the QPR goalscorer his marching orders. Moments later Gareth Bale waded into the crowd to try to retrieve a ball the home fans had.
Van der Vaart forces his a solid save from Kenny with a good snapped effort in the 90th minute or so, but after the ball is thrown in again, the fourth official indicates there’ll be five minutes of added time.
There’s a man in the crowd with a blue ‘Keep calm and carry on’ t-shirt who’s pointing at it and nodding at the play. Moments left.
Full-time. That’s your lot. QPR hang on for another famous win, one which does their survival hopes a lot of good and dents Spurs’ Champions League hopes further. Keep you comments coming. We’re off to watch El Clasico.