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Premier League

  • September 20, 2014
  • • 19:45
  • • Loftus Road Stadium, London
  • Referee: M. Atkinson
  • • Attendance: 16163

QPR 2-2 Stoke City: Kranjcar stunner rescues point for Rs

QPR 2-2 Stoke City: Kranjcar stunner rescues point for Rs

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Peter Crouch looked to have given the Potters a deserved win at Loftus Road just after the break but the Croatian midfielder's free kick right at the death pegged them back

QPR recovered a Premier League point thanks to Niko Kranjcar's late free kick that secured a 2-2 draw with Stoke City.

Mark Hughes's side took the lead through Mame Biram Diouf early in the first half and should have put daylight between themselves and the hosts before Steven Caulker headed home just before the break.

Peter Crouch restored their lead moments after half-time, however, by putting away a Victor Moses cross from 12 yards, but the Potters paid for earlier missed chances when Kranjcar buried a fantastic free kick right at the end of normal time.

Harry Redknapp looked set to endure a miserable day, with a lacklustre performance capped off by captain Joey Barton and midfielder Jordon Mutch having to be substituted with injuries, but Kranjcar intervened late on to earn the ex-Tottenham boss a valuable point.

By Alex Young

If QPR show the same kind of desire as was on show in the final 15 minutes then they will, as Harry Redknapp has already predicted, "be fine" this season. But it is the previous 75 minutes which may go on to define their efforts this term.

The Rs, and especially Rio Ferdinand, were dragged completely out of shape throughout as Stoke produced a fine counterattacking display with which the hosts' midfield and defence struggled throughout.

The visitors were clear and deserved winners here, yet ended up with only a point. QPR again looked all at sea for the majority and had to rely on an own goal and a moment of magic from Niko Kranjcar to survive.

Mark Hughes should not be overly concerned by his side's late collapse, whereas Redknapp must not let a crowd-pleasing late leveller to gloss over another worrying display.
Stoke showcased their counterattacking prowess in a shock 1-0 win at champions Manchester City in their previous away game and QPR failed to heed that warning as Hughes's men - inspired by the outstanding Moses - hurt the Londoners on the break throughout and were unfortunate not to take all three points.

QPR controlled the opening stages without really threatening Asmir Begovic's goal and Stoke punished them after 11 minutes when Diouf broke the deadlock. Moses bamboozled Mauricio Isla before sending in a quality lofted delivery from the left and the former Hannover man was on hand to nod home Crouch's towering knock-down from three yards.

Barton's enforced substitution appeared to have made QPR's task even tougher but Caulker's first goal for the club drew Redknapp's side level shortly before half-time. Mutch sent in a corner to the back post, which the centre-back headed across goal and into the net via a wild attempted clearance from Charlie Adam.

QPR failed to build on their equaliser after the interval, though, and Crouch - a player whom Redknapp admitted that he wanted to sign in the transfer window in the build-up to this match - restored Stoke's lead six minutes into the second half.

The hapless Isla was robbed in possession by Moses, who picked out Crouch with a low cross that the 33-year-old fired unerringly beyond Robert Green from 12 yards.

Erik Pieters - who overcame a knock to start for Stoke - should have given the visitors some breathing space shortly after following more good work from Moses but could only scuff his shot at Green from just inside the area.

QPR laboured in their attempts to get back into the match but Stoke's defensive resilience - and their ever-present threat on the break - meant that they struggled to get a clear sight of Begovic's goal.

That was until Kranjcar stepped up from 25 yards to arc the ball over the wall and beyond Begovic's despairing dive.