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QPR
QPR
0 vs 1
Played
February 25, 2012 3:00 PM GMT
Loftus Road Stadium — London
Referee:‬ P. Dowd‎
Attendance:‬ 18015‎
 
 
Mark Hughes will no doubt point, rather reasonably may I add, that with eleven men the result could have been very different in the second half, but that's just one league win in 14 matches now for QPR, seven of which Hughes has presided over. We've seen Martin O'Neill take a Sunderland side in a serious slump and help propel them up the table, but with just four points in their last six matches now under Hughes, the much-vaunted honeymoon period has so far failed to materialise for their new manager. With a tough run of fixtures to close out the season, QPR look in serious trouble right now and in danger of an immediate return to the Championship at the first time of asking.
 
 
Fulham took an early lead in the first half today courtesy of a fine team goal finished by Pavel Pogrebnyak and just managed to hold on by the skin of their teeth in the second half as they offered virtually nothing going forward, despite being a man to the good after Samba Diakite was sent off for QPR around the half hour mark. QPR battled and gave a good account of themselves in the second half as they pressed for an equaliser, dictating a good degree of the play, but the same little demons that brought an end to Neil Warnock's reign seem to be playing their part in not letting Mark Hughes get off to a flying start. They lack composure, quality and any sort of end product and at times, they look like eleven strangers out there.
 
 
Little bit of post-match controversy to tell you about here; as the final whistle is blown and the managers walk towards eachother to shake hands, Martin Jol goes to cup Mark Hughes's face as they shake hands, but Hughes refuses to shake the Dutchman's hand and walks off down the tunnel. It looked pretty harmless from Jol to be honest, no doubt Hughes will take it as a patronising affront, but the Welshman really doesn't do himself any favours sometimes with his quite frankly childish behaviour. He's got previous in refusing to shake hands, of course, having previously refused to do so with Arsene Wenger back in 2009 while in charge of Man City. This led to Wenger calling Hughes a 'bad loser'. He may have had a point.
 
90′
Paddy Kenny's mammoth goal-kick is lauched into the area, but as it bounces around with Jamie Mackie underneath it, it just won't drop for him and Fulham clear. As Fulham win a throw-in and clear the ball, the final whistle goes. It's close but no cigar for Mark Hughes and QPR again as Fulham win 1-0.
 
90′
Moussa Dembele spins off Onuoha 30 yards out, drives into the box but Onuoha gets back just in time and blocks his shot out for a corner. Two minutes of stoppage time to go. Fulham holding on.
 
90′
Dickson Etuhu goes close with one minute of normal time remaining, driving at the heart of the QPR defence with a full sixty yard run. Pogrebnyak distracts Anton Ferdinand and like a parting of the seas, Etuhu just keeps going, but as he enters the area, his shot goes narrowly past Kenny's left-hand post. That was unbelievably poor defending. An absolute horror show.
 
88′
As Buzsaky rolls a pass on the turn expecting a challenge, even though there is nobody around him, his through ball down the right hand wing rolls out for a goal-kick. That kind of sums up QPR's afternoon so far. Plenty of huff and puff, but no real quality in the final third.
 
85′
Yellow Card Chris Baird
 
85′
Only five minutes left on the clock and Fulham look like they're holding on here as they have every single man back inside their own half. QPR, remember, are down to ten men and are dictating all the play. It really is quite baffling how inept Fulham have been going forward this half. To say that they've taken their foot off the gas would be a huge understatement. If QPR get back in this, they'll only have themselves to blame.
 
83′
Substitution Shaun Wright-Phillips A. Buzsaky
 
83′
Huge chance for QPR as Shaun Wright-Phillips turns on a sixpence inside the six yard box after an exquisite Taarabt through ball. Mark Schwarzer gets a hand to the shot and it deflects out for a corner. Jamie Mackie screams at Wright-Phillips straight afterwards, arguing that he was in a better position to put the chance away, but in all honesty, I'm not too sure Wright-Phillips could have done anything differently or quicker there. Fulham lucky to survive.
 
81′
Substitution Andy Johnson Dickson Etuhu
 
81′
Martin Jol's substitutions are indicating that he's happy to see the match out and shut up shop as he takes another attacker off in favour of a midfield player. Fulham have been content to let QPR have a lot of the ball this second half, but Mark Hughes' side haven't used it well enough in and around goal to bridge the difference in the scoreline.
 
78′
Substitution Bryan Ruiz Damien Duff
 
78′
Both team's stroking it around well but with little tempo. Armand Traore does a laughable attempt at Swan Lake in the midst of all that, claiming an elbow from Chris Baird, Phil Dowd doesn't see him and the former Arsenal man just gets straight back up. Man up.
 
76′
The ball is spread out to the left hand flank to Armand Traore, a player who quite literally goes like the clappers, and he chooses to run at Stephen Kelly looking to get a cross into the box. He gets something in, but it's deflected off Kelly and Schwarzer holds onto it. Fine defending from Kelly there.
 
75′
QPR have more than held their own this second half and Fulham have been very quiet. But to be honest, while they've been decent, they've barely created a thing.
 
74′
Substitution Danny Murphy Chris Baird
 
73′
Joey Barton wins a free-kick 40 yards from goal wide on the right and Dembele may be a bit fortunate not to earn himself a second yellow in that clash. It's all getting a bit scrappy now. To make a mockery of my earlier praise for his dead-ball delivery, Barton's free-kick into the box is far too deep and falls out of play for a goal kick. Rubbish.
 
72′
Substitution Taye Taiwo Armand Traoré
 
69′
Yellow Card John Arne Riise
 
69′
Just as I say that, for my second strike of the curse of the commentator today, Jamie Mackie drills a shot just wide after latching onto Taarabt's ball into his path. As the Scotland international surges into the box, his effort from 12 yards out goes narrowly wide past Schwarzer's right-hand post. Very good chance, that.
 
67′
QPR look on top but short of ideas at the same time. I appreciate that much like they're best player today, Adel Taarabt, that they are a walking contradiction. Mark Hughes may have a bigegr job on than he first realised here.
 
65′
Yellow Card Mousa Dembélé
 
65′
QPR's main threat today has come from set-pieces and crosses into the box as another one just misses Zamora, but it's all just a little too pie in the sky at the moment. I'll term it 'hopeful creativity'. Think that just about sums it up.
 
63′
QPR have started this second half in a different formation it's worth noting too. They've gotten rid of the 4-5-1 that they used in the first half and after Diakite's sending off, they now line up 4-3-2, with Jamie Mackie alongside Zamora up front. The pressure up front is keeping Fulham pinned back in their own half at the moment despite them having the extra man..
 
61′
Judging by today's performance, while at first glance letting Bobby Zamora go, the focal point of all their forward play, looked like a move of madness, Fulham just look a lot more fluid without him up top. Pogrebnyak is no Usain Bolt, but he's got a tidy turn of pace, and with the likes of Dempsey, Ruiz and Dembele all running off him, they're a dangerous outfit. Jol's Dutch roots look to be paying dividends after all.
 
59′
Fulham really are a joy to watch when they're on song. A third corner in quick succession by Barton for QPR sees the hosts begin to turn the screw, but as Fulham win the ball back after a poor Taiwo pass, they keep their composure, spread the ball at pace across the midfield and push QPR back into their own half. That's how you take the sting out of a team, right there. Excellent stuff.
 
56′
They call it the curse of the commentator - just as I praise Barton's dead-ball delivery, his outswinging corner is penalised for leaving play before it came back in. Sorry Joseph 'Aristotle' Barton, my bad.
 
54′
Clint Hill nods well over at the back post following another decent corner by Joey Barton. His delivery has been a highlight of their forward play today.
 
51′
QPR enjoy a decent spell of possession in and around the Fulham box but it all comes to an end with Tarrabt's sloppy cross-field pass. He's a walking contradiction is Taarabt. People will refer to him as a 'mixed bag', but to be honest, it's just flashes of brilliance mixed in with quite frankly horrific inconsistency. Still, he's looked by far QPR's brightest player today.
 
49′
Bobby Zamora, who is moronically booed again by the Fulham fans, is wide on the left hand side of the box, and finds Taraabt on the edge of the area, who tries to bend the ball into the top right hand corner, but manages to sky his effort well over. That's seven shots for the Moroccan now and not one of them has been remotely dangerous.
 
48′
Adel Taraabt shows why PSG were interested in him in the summer by beating three players in a mazy run, but his shot is weak and straight at Schwarzer again. I make that six shots for the Taraabt now, the boy needs training at how to shoot, if he could, he'd be a lot more dangerous.
 
46′
We're underway in the second half andf Fulham should perhaps have gone two goals ahead there. A cute through ball by Dempsey finds David Luiz in the box on the run but as he goes to take it around Paddy Kenny, he takes it a touch too far and the ball goes harmlessly wide from his effort.
 
 
The half-time whistle is blown by Phil Dowd and Fulham go in at the break a goal to the good. The main talking point will be Samba Diakite's red card around the half hour mark on his QPR debut. Fulham have looked lively and full of purpose going forward, but far from certain at the back and they have Mark Schwarzer to thank for keeping the scores as they are, after a couple of smart stops. QPR look neat in possession, but they lack a cutting edge, despite all their decent January business. Far too often they simply run out of puff and guile further forward. Fulham in the driving seat here, after a frantic end-to-end half of action.
 
44′
There's an excellent tempo to this game so far as both sides look comfortable in possession and panicky without it. There are more goals in this one.
 
43′
Bobby Zamora is being booed by a section of the away support every time he touches the ball at the moment. Honestly, can a player just not leave a club now without incurring the wrath of the knuckleheads? Silly, so silly.
 
41′
QPR still retain a threat, though, as Wright-Phillips whipped in cross from the right is hit on the half volley by a late arriving Joey Barton, but his strike fizzes over a good ten feet over the bar with Schwarzer rooted to the spot. They look like they still have a goal in them despite being down to ten men, to be fair.
 
39′
David Luiz has been a real livewire this first half so far. It was remarked upon his awful debut for the club that they may have another Steve Marlet on their hands, but Ruiz was never signed to be a goalscorer. He drifts in off the wing and looks ever so creative. Look what happens when you don't try to pigeonhole players and give them time to settle, sometimes, just sometimes, they actually turn out alright.
 
37′
Andy Johnson dribbles at the QPR back three, and takes the ball a good thirty yards. But with options overlapping either side of him, he doesn't look up and plays a scuffed, hopeful pass into space. That was absolutely dreadful from Johnson.
 
35′
For the third time this month, QPR find themselves down to ten-men with it all to do. Mark Hughes is known for to pride himself on the discipline of his team's, but yet again, they're at a numerical disadvantage. 1-0 down and with them just starting to take control of the match, that red card couldn't have possibly come at a worse time.
 
33′
Yellow/Red Samba Diakité
 
33′
Well, well, well. Samba Diakite sees red for his seventh foul of the match and his second yellow. A needless challenge on the halfway line on Ruiz is the straw that breaks the camels back. He looked well short of match fitness here. None of the tackles looked particularly poor, but the accumulation of them sees a red and he, nor Mark Hughes can have any complaints over that as it's been coming for quite some time now.
 
32′
From the resulting free-kick, Ruiz whips in a ball which Dempsey beats the offside trap, but Onuoha gets back just in time to force the ball out for a corner. Nothing comes from the corner, though.
 
30′
Diakite gives away his sixth foul of the game and he's already on a yellow card. One to watch for later on in the game as he looks to be struggling with the pace of the game off the ball.
 
28′
Adel Taraabt has what must be his fifth shot of the match already as he drives at the Fulham back four from wide of the left and drills a shot just wide of Schwarzer's right hand post. He may not have opened his account so far this season, but he looks in the mood today.
 
26′
QPR are knocking balls up to Zamora and playing off him and it brings them their best chance of the half so far. Zamora lays it off to Barton, who spread it to Wright-Phillips just outside the area, his drilled shot is saved brilliantly by Schwarzer and Zamora is offside for the follow-up as the Australian makes it an excellent, if somewhat pointless double save. QPR on top now.
 
24′
Fulham beginning to look more like the away side at last as QPR begin to get a hold of the ball a bit more. Fulham are working hard, but they're struggling to retain possession.
 
22′
Taiwo it is as the angle perhaps suits the left-footer better and although his effort goes over the wall, it dips straight into Schwarzer's arms. Easy save.
 
21′
QPR do look very tidy when they actually do get their foot on the ball, mind you. Shaun Wright-Phillips and Jamie Mackie link up well down the right which results in a free-kick in a dangerous position. Taiwo and Barton hover over it.
 
20′
Yellow Card Samba Diakité
 
19′
As Clint Dempsey chases down a ball and takes it round Paddy Kenny, it looks like a corner but the referee today, Phil Dowd, gives a goal-kick. It begs the question, is Dempsey the most underrated player in the Premier League? I'm not quite sure as to his actual position, but he just seems to pop up everyhwere.
 
16′
Joey Barton's inswinging corner is a peach and after Hangeland misses his header, the ball hits Pogrebnyak and with the Russian facing his own goal, he hacks the ball clear and Fulham survive. Schwarzer was absolutely nowhere on that cross.
 
15′
It's been a frantic start and the duo of Pogrebnyak and Dempsey are working wonders in tandem up top. Andy Johnson's movement in the channels is worth keeping an eye on too. They're looking like a huge threat so far every time they go forward. QPR have a corner, though, to try and ggain a foothold in the match.
 
12′
Pavel Pogrebnyak nearly sets up Clint Dempsey but his ball into the box is cut out by Paddy Kenny. Moments earlier Danny Murphy sets the Americna through, but his shot goes narrowly wide of the left-hand post. Fulham are definitely up for this at the moment.
 
8′
Yellow Card Pavel Pogrebnyak
 
7′
Assist Mousa Dembélé
 
7′
Goal Pavel Pogrebnyak
 
7′
Pavel Pogrebnyak opens the scoring today and it's a beauty of a goal. A flowing move finds the Russian unmarked after a neat back heel by Dembele and Zamora's replacement slots home with ease after rounding Paddy Kenny.
 
5′
Andy Johnson has a goal ruled out for offside after he rises highest to meet a deadly John Arne Riise cross. Unlucky, that.
 
2′
The maverick that is Adel Taarabt gets the first crack on goal from 30 yards out but it's easily held by Mark Schwarzer.
 
 
A few things interlink these two clubs beyond Mark Hughes. Bobby Zamora lines up for QPR today after enjoying a hugely successful four-year spell at the club but departed in January after enduring a fractious relationship with Fulham boss Martin Jol. Fulham also shared Loftus Road between 2002-2004 as work was carried out on Craven Cottage. The players are out and we're now just seconds away from kick-off.
 
 
Fulham on the other hand, haven't been flying quite as much as in previous seasons but it's more a matter of steady as she goes for Martin Jol this season. There's no relegation battle in sight, but a European push looks out of the question too. While QPR languish in 16th place just out of the relegation zone on goal difference, Fulham occupy 12th place in the league on 30 points and they have seven points from their last five games which include impressive wins over Newcastle and Stoke. It's certainly an intriguingly poised fixture.
 
 
QPR will be reasonably worried about their recent run of form, which despite the change in manager, has so far failed to yield consistent results. They have just once in their last 13 league game and they have only four points from their last five matches and they face five of the current top six in their last eight league games of the campaign. In short, they are in dire need of a win here today.
 
 
There's only one change for Fulham which sees Andy Johnson selected in place of Damien Duff. If you remember, it was Johnson who scored a hat-trick for Fulham's 6-0 hammering of QPR back in October. Can lightning strike twice? Will be a cracker of a match of we get anything close to the action that occurred at Craven Cottage.
 
 
There's only one change for Fulham which sees Andy Johnson selected in place of Damien Duff. If you remember, it was Johnson who scored a hat-trick for Fulham's 6-0 hammering of QPR back in October. Can lightning strike twice? Will be a cracker of a match of we get anything close to the action that occurred at Craven Cottage.
 
 
And the visitors team today looks a little something like this. Fulham: Schwarzer, Kelly, Hughes, Hangeland, John Arne Riise, Ruiz, Murphy, Dembele, Dempsey, Pogrebnyak, Johnson. Subs: Stockdale, Baird, Orlando Sa, Senderos, Duff, Etuhu, Frei.
 
 
Samba Diakite makes his QPR debut after the Mali central defender arrived on loan from Nancy during the January transfer window. Jamie Mackie and Clint Hill are also drafted into the starting eleven.
 
 
Some teams news for you then: QPR: Kenny, Onuoha, Ferdinand, Hill, Taiwo, Diakite, Mackie, Taarabt, Barton, Wright-Phillips, Zamora. Subs: Cerny, Derry, Gabbidon, Bothroyd, Traore, Buzsaky, Smith.
 
 
Afternoon everyone and welcome to the LIVE commentary for today's match between QPR and Fulham, I'm James McManus and I'll be talking you through today's events. Fulham manager Martin Jol stoked the fires earlier in the week by claiming that QPR weren't as big a club as the Cottagers. While QPR manager Mark Hughes has previous with today's visitors having managed Fulham last season, going on to secure European football for the second successive season and an 8th place league finish in the process - but it all ended rather acrimoniously with Hughes invoking a get-out clause much to chairman Mohammed Al Fayed's disgust. Do we have another weekend of a will they, won't they handshake debate going on? If there is, it's been a tad on the quiet side so far.
 
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