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Thursday, September 25, 2008

QPR's Win At Aston Villa - Reports Compilation

QPR move into the Fourth Round of the Carling Cup which will be played the week of November 10. The draw for the 16 remaining teams will be made on Saturday at around noon.

- See Also: Earlier Reports and Comments of QPR's Win against Aston Volla
- Match Photos

QPR Official Site - R'S AWAIT CUP FATE
Rangers will find out who their Carling Cup Fourth Round opponents will be on Saturday lunchtime.
The draw will be made live on Sky Sports' Soccer Saturday show from midday.
Speaking after last night's victory against Aston Villa, R's boss Iain Dowie gave his thoughts on the next round, commenting: "We'll take whoever we get, but I'd like a home draw.
"There's nothing like playing in front of a big crowd at Loftus Road and I'd dearly love us to get a home tie after coming through what was a very difficult trip to Villa Park." QPR

Martin O'Neill was left ruing a missed opportunity after his Aston Villa side slumped to a 1-0 Carling Cup defeat at the hands of QPR.
The Villa boss had targeted the competition as a possible source of silverware and demonstrated his intentions by naming a handful of frontline stars in his starting XI.
There were also six changes from the side which defeated West Brom 2-1 last time out, but the presence of first-team regulars like Ashley Young, John Carew, Stiliyan Petrov and Gareth Barry - back as captain for the first time since his flirtation with a move to Liverpool - was designed to see Villa into the next round.
Instead, Rangers defender Damion Stewart left Carlos Cuellar in his wake to head the Coca-Cola Championship side into the fourth round.
"We put enough into the game to win it. It's a wasted opportunity," said O'Neill.
"When the match is in the balance and you don't take your chances there's always a possibility you might concede and we did.
"We were beaten in the game but if we had been played off the park it would have been a different issue.
"It's naturally disappointing to go out of the competition and not to be in the hat for the next round is really frustrating."
O'Neill was less concerned by the significance - or lack of it - in his decision to hand Barry the armband.
Nevertheless, his restoration as skipper - albeit in Martin Laursen's absence - seems to be final proof that relations between the pair are back on track after the midfielder's dream move to Anfield fell through.
"It's nothing. In the scheme of things it's really unimportant," he said of the decision.
"I'm more disappointed about losing the game so the captaincy is not the thing. I was more than pleased to give it to Gareth and he was more than pleased to get it.
"He didn't hold a speech or anything like that over it but he was, I'm sure, pretty pleased. He doesn't give much away but I think he was pleased - as anyone who gets the captaincy at this football club should be."
Victorious QPR boss Iain Dowie was delighted to see his side match - and better - a side he rates as one of the best in the country through hard work and determination.
"People might ask who I want in the next round but there's not too many bigger sides than them," he said.
"We gave it all we had. I can cope with losing to good sides and maybe on another day Villa would have won. But it's not as though our goalkeeper had to make two or three world-class saves and that is testament to the effort they gave."
Dowie praised Villa winger Ashley Young, who was man of the match by some distance despite finishing on the losing side, but also commented on the home side's physical presence.
"Ashley is one of the best wingers in the world," said Dowie.
"He's a top, top winger and he takes some playing that's for sure. But I picked up their team sheet and... well, they're a big side at the best of times, but they brought in Zat Knight and put Marlon Harewood up front.
"We're a big side too but they are the biggest side on the planet." Sporting Life

Telegraph/Phil Shaw - Iain Dowie's QPR claim scalp of Aston Villa
The team lying fourth in the Premier League were dumped out of the Carling Cup by the side occupying the same position in the Championship last night, Queens Park Rangers overcoming under-strength Aston Villa through a header by defender Damion Stewart early in the second half.
The 28-year-old Stewart, whose career has led him from Harbour View FC in his native Jamaica to Shepherd’s Bush via Bradford City and Darlington, was hailed by Rangers manager Iain Dowie as “a very powerful lad”, though he also acknowledged the excellence of the ball whipped in by Danny Parejo, a 19-year-old on loan from Real Madrid.
Dowie, who was in charge of Coventry when they won at Manchester United at the same stage last season, was delighted to claim another major scalp, especially one managed by one of his Northern Ireland role models, Martin O’Neill. “We’re a big side, but Villa are the biggest team on the planet, so I was pleased with how we worked to the defend set-pieces,” he said. “They’ve got pace and power throughout their side, but we had heart and desire in abundance, and we played a lot better after we scored. I was very proud of the way the lads played.”
O’Neill magnanimously described Rangers as “a fine footballing side” yet felt Villa should have been “out of sight” before Stewart’s intervention. “I accept the fact that it was our fourth match in 10 days but it wasn’t tiredness that beat us. We just couldn’t score, though we had enough chances to win the game. When a game’s in the balance, there’s always a possibility of conceding. That’s what happened and it’s desperately disappointing.”
Rangers rode their luck when Gareth Barry lofted the ball wide with only Radek Cerny to beat with 15 minutes remaining. Otherwise they dealt comfortably with Villa’s territorial ascendancy, even after Gabriel Agbonlahor was sent on to join John Carew and Ashley Young in attack.
O’Neill, mindful of the importance to supporters of a competition Villa have won on five occasions, had promised “phenomenal determination” from a line-up captained by Barry for the first time since his summer courtship with Liverpool. The Villa manager also insisted it was a “colossal game” but rested six first choices. The understudies performed capably enough, but with the possible exception of right-back Craig Gardner, few are likely to have forced their way into O’Neill’s thinking for the first XI at home to Sunderland on Saturday.
One of the understudies, American Olympic goalkeeper Brad Guzan, did not have to make a save worthy of the name on his debut. However, his weak punch from a corner shortly before the hour directed the ball to Parejo on Rangers’ right wing. His cross found Stewart rising in a congested six-yard area to score his third goal of the season.
In the first half, Stewart’s textbook sliding tackle halted Carew as he bore down on goal, while a Young shot flashed past the far post and Marlon Harewood headed over from Young’s cross. Rangers, for all their neat, composed passing, created only one comparable opportunity, but Stewart seized the moment. Telegraph

Guardian/Stuart James - O'Neill laments missed chances as Dowie claims another scalp
Martin O'Neill can no longer reflect on this competition with such fondness. Having won the League Cup twice during his time in charge at Leicester City, the Aston Villa manager has now suffered humbling exits in successive seasons. Unconvincing for periods and desperate in front of goal, Villa were knocked out by lower league opposition for the fourth time in five years last night after Damion Stewart headed the only goal to secure Queens Park Rangers a place in the last 16.

It is a chastening result that will check the optimism in these parts after three away victories in seven days. The belief and confidence shown during that run was badly lacking here, however, as a weakened yet still experienced Villa side toiled against their Championship opponents. Boos reverberated at the final whistle although O'Neill, despite admitting that the result represented "a wasted opportunity", refused to draw parallels with defeat to Leicester this time last year.

"It's desperately disappointing," said the Villa manager. "It's a competition we wanted to win and before they scored we should have been out of sight. We treated the competition with the respect it deserves and we got beaten but it wasn't because we fielded a weakened side. It was just because we couldn't put the ball in the back of the net. It's hugely disappointing but, unlike last year when I felt we didn't do enough against Leicester, tonight we created the chances."

Although O'Neill made six changes from the side that defeated West Bromwich Albion on Sunday, the Villa manager claimed the starting XI, which included Ashley Young, Gareth Barry and John Carew, ought to have been strong enough. That was the theory but Villa lacked conviction, particularly in the final third where Marlon Harewood, afforded a rare start in place of Gabriel Agbonlahor, was guilty of profligacy.

It was Barry, however, who squandered Villa's best opportunity of the evening when, with 15 minutes remaining, the midfielder, wearing the captain's armband for the first time this season, sliced wide with the goal at his mercy. Carlos Cuéllar will also want to forget the evening after he slipped prior to Stewart heading Daniel Parejo's cross emphatically past Brad Guzan from around six yards to give Iain Dowie's side an unexpected lead.

Although Rangers rarely threatened - it was not until Parejo drilled a low shot from 20 yards, after the Jamaica international Stewart's goal, that Guzan had a serious save to make - the visitors grew in confidence after the interval and, Barry's chance apart, rarely looked like surrendering their lead. For Dowie, who masterminded victory over Manchester United at the same stage of the competition last year during his time in charge of Coventry, this was another moment to cherish.

"It was a powerful team Villa put out and I was very proud of the lads with how they played," said Dowie. "With Ashley Young, who has such a great delivery, we knew we would have to be bang on with set-pieces. There was a big sheet in the dressing room saying that and we got it right. We were terrific [defending set-pieces] and that was a key factor." Guardian

The Times/Peter Lansley - Stewart exposes familiar failings for Villa
Never mind Manchester City; it is not so long ago that Queens Park Rangers were hailed as richer than Chelsea. They almost represent old money, but this victory over a strong Aston Villa side was a new high for Iain Dowie’s team, notwithstanding their excellent start to the Coca-Cola Championship campaign. This is the kind of night that Bernie Ecclestone and the other wealthy owners at Loftus Road will be anticipating on a more regular basis.

Fourth in the Championship overcame fourth in the Barclays Premier League, but there did not appear a division between the teams even if Damion Stewart’s winning goal, a powerful header in the 58th minute, represented the rarest of chances for QPR.

Villa, it would seem, have the ability to implode in this competition: this was the fourth time in five seasons that they have been knocked out by lower-division opponents.

Martin O’Neill, the Villa manager, argued that this was not a humiliation to rank with the defeat by Leicester City 12 months ago. They fielded a strong team - with Gareth Barry regaining the captaincy while Martin Laursen was rested - who created several chances that were not taken. Marlon Harewood was the chief culprit as several of Villa’s fringe players failed to maintain the standard of the regulars.

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Villa have been carrying all before them at home and abroad this season, courtesy of flowing form that brought three wins away from home last week. Their place in the group stage of the Uefa Cup looks assured after the 3-1 win away to Litex Lovech and, if there is any consolation from last night’s exit from a competition that they have won five times, it is the reduction in the number of games they must play.

QPR enter the last 16 of the tournament with some talented players liable to flourish on the higher stage. Daniel Parejo and Emmanuel Ledesma, on loan from Real Madrid and Genoa respectively, were particularly deft. Dowie believes that Akos Buzsaky is capable of top-grade football. More than anything last night, the back four produced immense performances to repel John Carew.

Just when Villa had upped their game, with Ashley Young running at defenders menacingly, the visiting side went ahead. Craig Gardner was adjudged to have conceded a corner and, when Brad Guzan, on an otherwise impressive Villa debut, punched clear, Stewart headed in Parejo’s cross.

Barry should have equalised 15 minutes from time, running clear on to Carew’s flick-on, but he pulled his shot wide. It was a miserable end to a miserable night for Villa.

Aston Villa (4-4-2): B Guzan — C Gardner, Z Knight, C Cuéllar, N Shorey — A Young, S Petrov, I Osbourne (sub: W Routledge, 67min) , G Barry — J Carew, M Harewood (sub: G Agbonlahor, 67). Substitutes not used: B Friedel, N Delfouneso, C Davies, M Salifou, N Reo-Coker. Booked: Cuéllar, Gardner.

Queens Park Rangers (4-4-1-1): R Cerny — M Connolly, F Hall, D Stewart, D Delaney — E Ledesma (sub: A Balanta, 90), D Parejo, G Mahon, M Rowlands — A Buzsaky (sub: M Leigertwood, 81) — P Agyemang (sub; S Di Carmine, 66). Substitutes not used: L Camp, D Blackstock, K Gorkss, H Ephraim. Booked: Delaney.

Referee: L Mason. The Times

Mirror - Aston Villa 0-1 QPR: It's nod Stewart!
By Lee Reynolds 25/09/2008
Iain Dowie loves the odour of the QPR dressing room - and there was the sweet smell of success at Villa Park last night as he pulled off another shock.
Dowie grabbed one of the greatest results of his career this time last season when he was the manager at Coventry - beating Manchester United 2-0 at Old Trafford.
And Damion Stewart's third goal of the season meant Dowie was at it again at Villa Park, as Martin O'Neill's big-four wannabees were left red-faced and out of the competition at the hands of Championship opposition for the second time in a year after their defeat to Leicester last term.

Dowie's hit-and-run raid was perfectly executed as Stewart headed home the 53rd-minute winner.

"I love the smell of the dressing room. I don't mean liniment. I mean the character and the strength of the people in there. They showed that against a team which I think can finish in the top four this season," said Dowie.

"They know how to smile and have a laugh and a joke but, when it comes to being serious and getting the job done, they know how to do that too and I am immensely proud of them. Old Trafford was a pretty special moment for me - but this comes close.
"Martin has to be one of the best managers I have ever come up against and there are not too many bigger clubs in the country than Villa."
Stewart was playing amateur football with Harbour View in Jamaica little more than two years ago and he created the devastation at Villa Park, heading home Daniel Parejo's cross.
But O'Neill insisted that Villa only had themselves to blame and not the six changes he had made to freshen up a squad in the middle of a run of seven games in 21 days.
"We had enough chances to win the game. When the game is in the balance and you don't take your chances, there is always the possibility of conceding a goal," said O'Neill.
"I did not disrespect the competition by fielding a weakened side.
"I wanted to progress and have a chance of winning it. So it is hugely disappointing."
Villa's culprits were their second-string striker Marlon Harewood and, late on, Gareth Barry - who shot wide with only the keeper to beat.
Villa: Guzan, Gardner, Cuellar, Knight, Shorey, Osbourne (Routledge 67), Petrov, Barry, Ashley Young, Harewood (Agbonlahor 67), Carew.
QPR: Cerny, Connolly, Hall, Stewart, Delaney, Mahon, Rowlands, Parejo, Ledesma (Balanta 90), Buzsaky (Leigertwood 81), Agyemang (Di Carmine 66).
Referee: Lee Mason
Attendance: 21,541 Mirror

Rory Dollard, PA Sport
Aston Villa 0 QPR 1
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By Rory Dollard, PA Sport

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Gareth Barry endured a miserable return to captaincy duties as QPR's Damion Stewart dumped Aston Villa out of the Carling Cup with the only goal at Villa Park.

Stewart headed home after 58 minutes to put the Coca-Cola Championship side into the fourth round as a reshuffled Villa side struggled to find any fluency.

Barry was one of only five survivors from Villa's Premier League victory over West Brom and was asked to lead the side for the first time since his dream move to Liverpool fell through.

But despite a lively display from Ashley Young, Villa could not find the goal they needed to force extra-time.

Carlos Cuellar was handed a first home start alongside Zat Knight in a reshuffled Villa defence, while Isaiah Osbourne and goalkeeper Brad Guzan, on debut, were given chances to impress.

The applause when Barry's name was announced to the fans was warm, if a little less than delirious, but the decision suggests that, if any further proof were needed, player and manager are fully reconciled.

Villa had a gilt-edged chance to open the scoring in the 10th minute after fine work down the left from Barry and Nicky Shorey provided Stiliyan Petrov with possession just outside the box.

The Bulgaria international opted not to shoot, instead rolling the ball delicately into Marlon Harewood's path only for the striker to curl his effort over the crossbar from six-yards out.

Emmanuel Ledesma, scorer of a hat-trick in the previous round, showed some neat footwork inside the Villa box to give the hosts a scare but he ran the ball a fraction too far and lost sight of goal.

Young then showed the skill and fleet of foot that mark him out as an England star in the making when he set in motion another Villa attack with a first-time flick with the outside of the boot.

That set Barry scampering down the flank but when he found Harewood in the middle, he could not steer his shot through a clutch of hooped shirts.

Young, predictably, was involved in Villa's next good chance, springing the offside trap before trapping the ball on the touchline and drilling it into the box.

His pass took a deflection before finding Harewood, who snatched at a tough chance and powered it into the stand.

Cuellar, who looked short on composure in his first home start, was booked 10 minutes before the break for dissent.

Young, the liveliest player on the pitch by a handsome margin, looked as though he would send Villa into the break ahead but his sweetly-hit effort curled just wide of the far post.

Osbourne, like Cuellar, appeared to be fluffing his lines on what could be seen as an audition for the first XI, betraying a poor first touch seconds after the restart and immediately ceding possession.

Villa quickly cranked up the pressure, Young earning a corner with a low near-post cross from the right which Harewood might have done better from.

Then, with 58 minutes on the clock, Rangers took an unlikely lead.

The away side won a disputed corner and although that was cleared, Daniel Parejo - on loan from Real Madrid - floated the ball back into the penalty area where Stewart rose to nod a bullet header beyond Guzan.

Panic appeared to be spreading in the home ranks, with a series of mis-hit passes and poor touches serving to spur on their opponents.

With a little over 23 minutes remaining, O'Neill sent on Gabriel Agbonlahor and Wayne Routledge.

O'Neill had probably been hoping to give Agbonlahor, who has endured a heavy workload so far this season, a night off but summoning him from the bench was an obvious show of intent.

After 75 minutes, the chance of an equaliser came and went as Barry spurned the chance to cap his return as skipper with a goal.

Carew flicked on a high ball leaving the onrushing Barry clear on goal. The England midfielder opted to chip the advancing Cerny but failed to hit the target.

It did not get any better for Villa, who by now were tossing away possession liberally.

Routledge screwed a presentable chance wide with three minutes to play, ending Villa's hopes of a sixth League Cup with a whimper. Sporting Life

Daily Mail/Neil Moxley - Dowie delivers again: This time it's Villa as Stewart sees QPR through

Manager Iain Dowie followed his Carling Cup triumph at Manchester United last season with a similar success at Aston Villa as Damion Stewart pulled off the perfect smash-and-grab raid.

The Queens Park Rangers boss was in charge at Coventry City when he upset Sir Alex Ferguson 12 months ago and he did likewise to Martin O’Neill last night as the Irishman paid for tinkering with his in-form side.

Stewart powerfully nodded home a 58th-minute winner to bring Rangers their first victory on a Barclays Premier League ground since 1996 as Villa, shorn of six of the side that recorded three away wins last week, failed to come up to scratch.

Dowie said: ‘I think last year just shades it. It would have to because they ended up as Premier League champions and European Champions.

‘But I’m old enough to remember Villa when they did that, the side with Tony Morley and Dennis Mortimer. This is a big, big football club and a big, big club to pay for, so I’m very pleased.’
Dowie had every reason to feel happy as his tactics of playing Patrick Agyemang up front on his own paid off. Stewart’s header was their first direct effort on goal and they survived a late scare to advance into the last 16.
He said: ‘We knew we would have to be bang-on at set-pieces and we were terrific. They are a powerful team and Martin O’Neill is one of the best managers I’ve come up against.’
O’Neill risked being embarrassed like last year when Leicester City pulled off a similar result after he had rested several of his side.
That did not prove enough of a deterrent for him to continue with his best team, although mainstays such as Ashley Young, Gareth Barry and John Carew started.
However, more than half the side that won 2-1 at West Bromwich on Sunday were rested. It was a pity that Marlon Harewood was not among them. He was Villa’s culprit-in-chief in front of goal. O’Neill remarked, quite rightly, that this setback was different from 12 months ago as Villa did not deserve to progress.
Harewood had two chances that simply begged to be put away. He was put through by Stiliyan Petrov in the 10th minute, only to send the ball over the bar. Then, just before the interval, he charged on to an Ashley Young centre but with Rangers’ goalkeeper Radek Cerny stranded headed over.
The winner arrived after Rangers had fortuitously been awarded a corner. The ball was half cleared and Daniel Parejo helped it back into the area. Stewart, who already has two goals to his credit this term, ran on to the cross to beat Villa’s debutant goalkeeper Brad Guzan.
Villa wasted a glorious late chance to take the tie into extra-time. Gareth Barry, restored to the captaincy to confirm that there is no longer a rift between him and his boss following the upheaval that almost saw him quit the club, broke free of the packed midfield. He gambled that Carew would win a flick-on and was left to lob Cerny to equalise. However, his shot was skewed and bounced the wrong side of the upright.
O’Neill who won this competition twice with Leicester City, said: ‘It was a frustrating night. We had enough chances to win the game. I’m the first one to criticise but I thought we should have been out-of-sight before they scored. We were beaten, but it wasn’t because I fielded a weakened side.’ Daily Mail

Sunday MERCURY/Andy Walker - Aston Villa 0 QPR 1

THE TEMPORARY return of Villa's Captain Marvel couldn't stop the claret and blue wave crashing to an end at the hands of group of loaded Londoners with a cup specialist at the helm.

Villa boss Martin O'Neill sprung a surprise before kick-off by naming Gareth Barry as his skipper just over a month after the England man was sensationally stripped of the captaincy following the bust-up over his failed move to Liverpool.

However even putting Barry back in charge, albeit temporarily due to the omission of Martin Laursen and Nigel Reo-Coker, couldn't stop Iain Dowie adding another Premier League scalp to his impressive array of Premier League victims.

Last season, while in charge of his former club Coventry, Dowie masterminded giantkilling operations over Manchester United and Blackburn Rovers in the Carling Cup and FA Cup respectively. And at Villa Park he managed to guide QPR to their first victory over Premier League opposition since their relegation from the top flight thanks to a second-half Damion Stewart goal.

It turned out to be a case of deja vu for Villa who were knocked out of last season's Carling Cup by then-Championship outfit Leicester City, again by a solo goal in the second half.

QPR, backed by mega rich owners Flavio Briatore and Bernie Ecclestone, presented the slippiest of banana skins and Villa fell flat on their face to ensure that no West Midlands teams will advance to the last 16 of the Carling Cup.

At times Villa toyed with QPR, Ashley Young's typical mazy runs and John Carew's frightening power in the box ensuring that their visitors had plenty to think about.

But when Rs defender Stewart rose highest to power home Daniel Parejo's cross past the unimposing figure of debutant goalkeeper Brad Guzan just before the hour mark, it was enough to see off in-form Villa, who were previously undefeated in their last five games.

There were six changes from the side that beat Albion 2-1 on Sunday but surprisingly their was no rest for Villa's big-hitters Barry, Carew and Young. American keeper Guzan was handed his debut between the sticks while Marlon Harewood, Zat Knight, Carlos Cuellar, Isaiah Osbourne and Craig Gardner all made the starting line-up.

Perennial substitute Osbourne, who this week put pen-to-paper on a new three-year deal, showed signs of rustiness during the first half with the odd poor touch and misplaced pass but that is unsurprising for a player who barely gets a whiff of first-team action. Meanwhile Gardner, clearly not a right-back, often showed signs of weakness in his makeshift position.

Spaniard Cuellar looked eager to stamp his mark on the match but his risky lunge on Emmanuel Ledesma, as the midfielder teased the Villa defence on the fringes of the box, could have cost his side a penalty early on, fortunately the Argentine skipped past his trailing legs.

Cuellar, who also attempted to get his name on the scoresheet in the 25th minute but could only head Young's cross wide of the mark, narrowly outshone his centre half partner Zat Knight in the first-half. But after the break error-prone Knight looked much more in control at the back.

Villa have so far scored 21 goals this season but Harewood hasn't bagged one of them and at times his desperation to get off the mark this season showed.

The ex-Hammer blazed his first effort over in the 12 minute after latching on to Stiliyan Petrov's neat throughballl. Harewood attempted to carve out his own opener 15 minutes later, a smart turn set the burly frontman loose on goal but visiting right-back Matthew Connolly tracked back well to halt his progress. Then with half-time approaching, Harewood failed to nod home Young's testing corner from the left following some suspect goalkeeping from the less-than-impressive Radek Cerny. It was no surprise when goal-shy Harewood was replaced by Holte End hero Gabby Agbonlahor in the second half as Villa desperately went in search of a winner.

As the rain poured down after the break, Stewart's goal rocked Villa and visably lifted QPR. However, despite the earlier goal, it wasn't until the 75th minute when Guzan was truly tested when the ex-Chivas man palmed away a solid long-range effort from Parejo.

Substitute Wayne Routledge and Gardner spurned decent chances for the hosts late on but it was Barry who wasted the best chance to complete his transformation from villain to Villan and drag this tie into extra time.

With 15 minutes remaining, Barry only had Cerny to beat after Carew's flick had put him in on goal but the midfielder hit his side-footed effort wide of the left hand post to sum up a miserable night for high-flying Villa. Sunday Mercury

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