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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

QPR's 3-1 Loss at Cardiff - Reports and Comments

QPR Official Site - De Canio Post Match
Luigi De Canio was at a loss to explain QPR's below-par display after the 3-1 defeat to Cardiff City.
A brace from Joe Ledley and a Paul Parry goal put the Bluebirds in control, and although Patrick Agyemang pulled one back for the R's late on, a 3-1 defeat flattered Rangers.
"I'm very disappointed. We could and we should have played a better game," De Canio told www.qpr.co.uk.
"We simply got it wrong on the night. We didn't have the right attention on the pitch, or the right determination.
It was not the real QPR out there, but credit to Cardiff. They really surprised us and took full advantage of our mistakes.
"The first goal was a very disappointing one to concede and we never recovered."
To compound Rangers woes, Fitz Hall and Matthew Connolly both limped off with injuries in the first half. De Canio added: "We will assess the injuries in the morning, but at this stage they look like they could be serious.
"The two injuries summed up our night, but we need to re-group ahead of the match against Bristol City on Saturday." QPR

BBC - Cardiff 3-1 QPR
A Joe Ledley brace helped Cardiff to a comfortable win over woeful QPR.
An awful back pass from the visitors gave Paul Parry the chance to lay on the opener for Ledley with a fine feed.
Aaron Ramsey, making his full league debut, then found Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink who delivered the pass for Ledley to stroke in his second.
More weak defending saw Hasselbaink set up Paul Parry for a well-taken third, before Hogan Ephraim's late consolation slipped under an injured Michael Oakes.
The Bluebirds are now just one point off the Championship play-offs, having extended their unbeaten run to nine games. BBC

League Table
17 Leicester 29 1 34
18 Blackpool 29 -1 34
19 QPR 29 -9 33
20 Coventry 28 -15 32
21 Sheff Wed 28 -5 31
22 Preston 29 -8 30
23 Scunthorpe 29 -17 27
24 Colchester 28 -8 26


QPR Official Site - Cardiff 3 QPR 1

In-form Cardiff City continued their march to the top-six with a domineering display against out-of-sorts Rangers.

On a night when the R's lost defensive duo Fitz Hall and Matthew Connolly to first half injuries, the Bluebirds totally orchestrated proceedings, to leave Luigi De Canio's men contemplating a third successive away defeat in all competitions.

In a first period totally dominated by the hosts, Joe Ledley opened the scoring in the 13th minute, before the midfield maestro doubled the Bluebirds' advantage four minutes before the break.

Rangers were indebted to the outstanding Lee Camp for keeping the scoreline down to just two goals at half-time, with the R's number one on hand to make a series of stunning saves, most notably from the inventive Jimmy Floyd-Hasselbaink.

But there was nothing Camp could do to prevent Paul Parry making it three early in the second half, as the forward coasted through unmarked to notch the Bluebirds' third.

To their credit, Rangers continued to plug away as the clock ticked down, and they were rewarded when Patrick Agyemang fired home his third in as many games after Michael Oakes dropped Hogan Ephraim's cross under pressure from Dexter Blackstock.

In the only change to the side which won 2-0 against Barnsley ten days ago, De Canio welcomed back Gavin Mahon from illness.

Blackstock dropped to the bench as a result, while young goalkeeper Reece Crowther was again amongst the substitutes, deputising for the injured Jake Cole.

Just 48 hours after their FA Cup fourth round victory against Hereford United, Cardiff gaffer Dave Jones was forced into two changes.

Aaron Ramsey and Hasselbaink returned to the starting XI, at the expense of Stephen McPhail and Steve Thompson.

After an equally contested opening ten minutes, it was the hosts who created the first chance of note in the 11th minute.

Ledley's speculative 12-yard drive appeared to be heading goalwards, before Hall's outstretched leg diverted the ball to safety.

The danger signs were there from the hosts, but the R's failed to heed the warning and when Damien Delaney's blind back pass fell horribly short of Camp, Rangers paid the ultimate price.

Parry seized upon the loose ball, before delivering a precise ball across the six-yard box, which the unmarked Ledley tucked home with ease.

Stunned by the nature of the goal, Rangers looked alarmingly disjointed at the back and Hasselbaink very nearly doubled the Bluebirds' advantage a minute later, only to fluff his lines from 15-yards.

It was all Cardiff by now and but for the heroics of Camp, the R's could have been down and out.

The R's number one made two stunning saves in a minute; first to deny Peter Whittingham and then to thwart Hasselbaink.

City centre-half Glenn Loovens glanced a ten-yard header wide midway through the half, as Cardiff continued to lay siege on the R's goal.

Loovens' fellow centre-back Roger Johnson was next to test Camp, firing a thunderous volley on target, which the R's stopper again punched to safety.

It took Rangers 30 minutes to create their first chance of note, but Damion Stewart - who had earlier been booked for a mistimed challenge on the lively Hasselbaink - blazed wide from an acute angle.

Cardiff's free-flowing counter-attacks left Rangers chasing shadows at times and from their very next foray forward, Whittingham, with the goal at his mercy, somehow skewed his shot wide from six-yards out.

The R's were forced into a change seven minutes before the break, when Hall limped off and was replaced by Michael Mancienne.

That prompted a defensive reshuffle, with Connolly moving to centre-back and Chelsea loanee Mancienne filling in at right-back.

The new-look R's back four were powerless to prevent the Bluebirds from doubling their advantage moments later though, as Hasselbaink evaded the R's offside trap with ease and squared for Ledley, who tapped home unopposed from close range.

As if a two-goal deficit at the break wasn't a big enough mountain to climb, De Canio's men suffered a further blow on the stroke of half-time, when Connolly left the field on a stretcher and was immediately replaced by Blackstock.

Undeterred, the R's began the second period on the front foot, forcing two corners in a matter of minutes; the second of which was glanced wide by Blackstock.

But it was Cardiff who notched the all-important third goal of the contest in the 58th minute, as Hasselbaink - looking marginally offside - played provider for Parry, who steered the ball beyond the outstretched dive of Camp from 15-yards.

Camp was in the right place, at the right time, to deny the roaming Ledley again on the hour, sprinting from his line to deflect the left-sided midfielder's looping effort wide of the upright.

Rangers pulled a goal back 13 minutes from time when Oakes - under pressure from Blackstock - failed to gather Ephraim's cross from the right and Agyemang was on hand to continue his rich vein of scoring form.

It proved to be a mere consolation though, despite Mikele Leigertwood forcing replacement keeper Peter Enckelman into a fine save and the woodwork coming to the hosts' recue, when Delaney's back post header was deflected onto the crossbar before being hacked to safety.

Cardiff City: Oakes (Enckelman 78), McNaughton, Capaldi, Rae, Loovens, Whittingham (Blake 88), Parry, Johnson, Ledley, Ramsey, Floyd-Hasselbaink (Thompson 93).

Subs: Purse, Sinclair.

Scorers: Ledley 13 & 41, Parry 58


Red Cards:

QPR: Camp, Delaney, Mahon, Stewart, Buzsaky (Ephraim 62), Rowlands, Connolly (Blackstock 45), Agyemang, Vine, Hall (Mancienne 38), Leigertwood.
Subs: Lee, Crowther.
Scorers: Agyemang 76
Bookings: Stewart 25, Buzsaky 48
Red Cards:
Referee: Mr P Walton QPR

CARDIFF OFFICIAL SITE - Report: Sean Wozencroft

Snapshot: City moved into seventh position, just one point off the play-offs, with an excellent 3-1 win against QPR. City were in thrilling form for the first hour, tearing Rangers apart and looking good value for their three goal advantage. The first came on 12 minutes, Paul Parry racing to the byline and finding Joe Ledley in the centre. The midfielder comfortably converted from closerange.

Youngster Aaron Ramsey created the second, finding unmarked Hasselbaink in the area. The striker could have scored himself but showed great awareness to lay off for Ledley to bag his second. The game was won on 57 minutes. Again Hasselbaink was involved, knocking down for the progressing Parry to fire low past Camp. A bizarre goal for the visitors gave them some hope, but City comfortably played the game out to give our promotion chances another huge boost.

Team News

Dave Jones made two changes to the side that won at Hereford on Sunday. Starlet Aaron 'Rambo' Ramsey replaced Steve McPhail, suffering with a hip problem, in central midfield. It was the 17-year-old's first league start for the Bluebirds after impressing during 89 minutes at Chasetown in the FA Cup.

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink returned to the fray upfront alongside Paul Parry. Steve Thompson suffered with cramp on Monday after playing nearly a full match at Edgar Street. There was no place in the QPR squad for Chris Barker, who is recovery from a minor hernia operation.

Chronological Report

In a lively start with drizzle drifting in and out, Partrick Agyemang's pace took him beyond City's last defender early on but his first touch took him wide of goal and Roger Johnson recovered.

The first real chance fell to Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink on nine minutes. Joe Ledley's in-swinging corner found the Dutchman on the front post but he couldn't connect properly. It was only cleared as far as Johnson though, but he couldn't scramble it home. Agyemang was playing on the last man and was looking a real handful with electric pace, but City took the lead on 12 minutes.

Paul Parry picked the ball up inside the Rangers half, took it to the byline and easily found the unmarked Joe Ledley in the centre. Ledley couldn't miss, side-footing past Camp from no more than five yards. The 'keeper dived the right way but the pace of the shot was enough to give the Bluebirds a vital lead.

Cardiff City 1 - 0 QPR

"What a waste of money" was the taunt of choice for the home supporters, and it was nearly 2-0 four minutes later. With the Rangers defence at sixes and sevens, Hasselbaink's flick-on header was met by the progressing Paul Parry, but his shot from closerange was blocked by the legs of the 'keeper.

Soon after Parry nearly connected with Peter Whittingham's intelligent ball on the increasingly greasy surface. Camp was forced into a brilliant double save on 21 minutes. First Gave Rae did well to battle in midfield and collect the ball, playing it forward to Loovens who shot well and the 'keeper was equal to it. It came out to Whittingham who forced an equally fine save from Camp, diving to his left at waist height.

With QPR repetitively trying the ball over the top, it was City playing all the football. On 24 minutes Hasselbaink superbly turned Damion Stewart, used his strength to power forward and won a freekick on the edge of the area. The setpiece was straight off the training ground. A short ball was played to Peter Whittingham, who took it a step wide and crossed. Defender Glenn Loovens rose highest only to see his header miss the upright by inches.

Rangers were desperately unlucky not to level the scores five minutes later. Martin Rowlands drilled over a low cross and Loovens' clearance nearly found his own net but instead went out for a corner. From Akos Buzsaky's resulting cross it went all the way into the six yard area and was somehow cleared with plenty of red shirts waiting when it looked inevitable that a goal would follow. City nearly hit QPR immediately on the counter. Hasselbaink rolled back the years, sprinting forward in possession and playing a lovely ball for Parry but his shot was saved.

Again in came back in for City but Whittingham contrived to miss from closerange when he should have scored. Some neat play in the centre by Aaron Ramsey seconds later gave Hasselbaink a chance in the area. His touch took it past his man but his side-footed effort was deflected over the crossbar by Camp.

City were two goals to the good five minutes before the interval following more imaginative play. Ramsey showed the composure to play in a pinpoint ball into the inexplicably unmarked Hasselbaink. You would have backed the striker to score himself but he unselfishly and perfectly knocked it down for Ledley to easily half volley into the net from eight yards, his second of the game.

Cardiff City 2 - 0 QPR

With the visitors' defence rocking and Stewart unable to deal with Parry came close again as the half concluded. City were threatening to turn it into a rout with lightening fast attacks in a thrilling game.

Half time - Cardiff City 2 - 0 QPR

The first goal of the second half was always going to be important. City had it and secured the points on 57 minutes. Whittingham chipped it into Hasselbaink inside the area from a central position. His head down for the on rushing Parry was perfect and the Welshman bagged his seventh of the season, stroking the ball past Camp with ease.

Cardiff City 3 - 0 QPR

Ninian Park sensed a demolition. On 62 minutes sublime skill from McNaughton set Whittingham on his way down the right flank. His cross should have been held by the 'keeper, but he thumbled and Hasselbaink nearly took advantage.

On 66 minutes Gavin Rae sent a long ball straight down the throat of the Rangers defence. Camp came charging out but Parry still beat him to it but his attempted lob bounced just wide via a deflection.

Rangers were having more possession in the second half and threatening from corners, but City remained the more dangerous.

Rangers pulled one back in the most bizarre of circumstances. Even the travelling QPR fans stood silent until the referee marched play back to the centre circle unaware that the ball had trickled beyond Michael Oakes. Oakes was then replaced by new boy Peter Enckelman after seemingly colliding with the post. Substitute Hogan Ephraim was credited with the goal.

Cardiff City 3 - 1 QPR

The game was stopped for several minutes and suffered a lull as a consequence. Plenty of oxygen was sharply sucked by the home supporters on 83 minutes when Rowan Vine's fine cross found Agyemang in space but his header was straight into the arms of Enckelman. We may have had some nervous closing minutes if he had scored, as he probably should've.

Rangers continued to cause problems late on. Martin Rowlands' freekick was headed on by Damien Delaney, Roger Johnson touched it on towards his own goal and Enckelman had to make a fine save to tip it onto the crossbar. Another heart attack moment.

The fluency of City's play had completely gone and there were minor concerns when six minutes of injury time were announced. But City were troubled no further and recorded the home victory that our fantastic first 60 minutes so richly deserved.

Full time: Cardiff City 3 - 1 QPR

City: Michael Oakes, Kevin McNaughton, Tony Capaldi, Roger Johnson, Glenn Loovens, Joe Ledley, Gavin Rae, Aaron Ramsey, Peter Whittingham, Paul Parry, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink. Subs: Peter Enckelman, Darren Purse, Trevor Sinclair, Steve Thompson, Darcy Blake

QPR: Lee Camp, Damien Delaney, Gavin Mahon, Damion Stewart, Akos Buzsaky, Martin Rowlands, Matthew Connolly, Patrick Agyemang, Rowan Vine, Fitz Hall, Mikele Leigertwood. Subs: Michael Mancienne, Dexter Blackstock, Kieran Lee, Hogan Ephram, Reece Crowther Cardiff

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