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Saturday, April 04, 2009

QPR's Crystal Palace Draw: Reports and Comments - Blackstock Loaned Without Sousa's Approval/Knowledge

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- [Sousa's post-match - not on the QPR Official Site ]
Northampton Chronicle: "QPR boss Paulo Sousa has confirmed leading goalscorer Dexter Blackstock was loaned to Nottingham Forest without his knowledge.
- "Blackstock has hit 12 goals for Rangers this season and was badly missed as the west Londoners' faint play-off hopes took another dent with a goalless draw at home to Crystal Palace today.
- Sousa was informed only by sporting director Gianni Paladini that Blackstock was joining their Coca-Cola Championship rivals last week - a decision apparently made by owner Flavio Briatore.
- It left Sousa with young Italian Samuel Di Carmine as his only fully-fit striker against Palace - and the Portuguese coach's frustration boiled over when he was sent to the stands just before half-time.
- "I gave the players two days off after the Bristol City game and when I came back Mr Paladini told me he had an agreement (for Blackstock) to go on loan," said Sousa.
- "It is a decision for the board and only they can answer it. I'm not frustrated, I said from the first day I have to adapt and try to do my best with the players I have."
- Sousa, usually one of the coolest customers on the touchline, lost his rag at the treatment being dished out by Palace's giant defender Claude Davis on Di Carmine.
- Davis had already caught the striker with a flailing arm which went unpunished by referee Scott Mathieson, but when the Jamaican clattered Di Carmine again by the touchline Sousa came charging out of his technical area.
- This time Mathieson booked Davis but Sousa was ushered out of the dug-out and spent the second half in the directors' box, which at least had a couple of spare seats with Briatore and co-owner Bernie Ecclestone on Grand Prix duty.
- "I can't understand when a manager is looking out for his player, I care about my players and I went to see him, and I am sent to the stands," added Sousa.
- "I said nothing to the referee, I was going to see my player. I think it was because I went out of my area."
- Palace boss Neil Warnock, a regular scourge of referees, adopted the unusual role as peacemaker and had sympathy for his opposite number.
- "I told him to calm down a bit," smiled Warnock.
- "To be fair he didn't do much - he was concerned about his lad who had blood coming out of his nose.
- "If he wants me to speak for him I will do - I know everyone on the commission," he added.
- Adel Taarabt squandered the best chance of an otherwise pedestrian encounter, Rangers' on-loan Tottenham winger firing over from 14 yards.
- Palace's first shot on target came just after the break, when Victor Moses' fierce shot was tipped over by Radek Cerny.
- "The pitch was not very good, the first job they should do is get a new one, no matter how many millions you spend on players," added Warnock.
- "If we were a bit more clinical we might have finished it off but a draw was probably a fair result." Northampton Chronicle

QPR Official Site - Match Report
- QPR extended their unbeaten run and mini-revival with a goalless draw at home to Crystal Palace.
- As the sun shone, Rangers controlled proceedings but were guilty of missing several chances, most notably in the second half, when Adel Taarabt broke free of the Eagles defence only to blast and effort over the bar with only Julian Speroni to beat.
In true derby fashion, there was an element of controversy, as R's Manager Paulo Sousa was sent to the stands for reacting to a Claude Davis tackle on Samuel Di Carmine.
- But the real talking point of the match was the return to action of R's striker Rowan Vine, who gained a valuable quarter of an hour or so under his belt.
- In order to stretch the run of wins to three, Manager Sousa made two changes to his starting eleven. Wayne Routledge joined Liam Miller in returning to the midfield, where they were joined by Hogan Ephraim, hero of the last match Taarabt and Mikele Leigertwood.

At the back, Radek Cerny once again took the number one jersey. His back four looked like this: Peter Ramage at right back, Matthew Connolly and Kaspars Gorkss as the centre halves, and Damien Delaney completing the four.

Up front, Italian Di Carmine was picked ahead of fellow strikers Angelo Balanta and the returning Vine, with Damion Stewart, Lee Cook and Matteo Alberti also taking their seats.

Palace handed starts to young stars Nathaniel Clyne and Victor Moses, with on-loan striker Anthony Stokes partnering the latter in attack.

Fellow loan-man Davis joined the evergreen Matt Lawrence at centre back.

It was the visitor's who started the brightest, with Shaun Derry rifling a 25-yard half-volley narrowly wide.

But Rangers were unperturbed by this early scare and nearly went ahead minutes later. Routledge, after picking up possession on the right, bedazzled Clint Hill with quick feet before slipping a fine pass for the breaking Miller.

The Irishman took a touch and tried to beat Speroni at his near post. His well-hit shot was dealt with equally as well by the Argentine custodian.

Clearly inspired by his teammate's skills, Taarabt followed suit trying his luck to open the scoring. With nothing else on, he weaved his way into space for snapping off a strike from the edge of the box that Speroni just managed to beat away.

Speroni was needed again some minutes later, when an Ephraim cross ricocheted off his own defender before heading goalwards, but the Eagles keeper was alert enough to dive on the loose ball.

A quiet half was given an injection of controversy when Davis raised a boot into the face of Di Carmine. As the young Italian fell to the floor both sets of players descended on the scene with the R's remonstrating with the Eagles defender.

Davis protested his innocence but received a booking for the challenge. R's gaffer Sousa meanwhile, for his reaction, was sent to the stands.

Once again it was Palace who had the half's opening chance, Moses curling a delightful effort that needed the fingertips of Cerny to tip it over the crossbar.

But again Rangers regained the upper hand. First, Taarabt slid a clever ball into the path of Di Carmine who tried to beat Davis before shooting, only for the Jamaican to recover and block the effort.

Then, seconds later, Delaney sent over a cross to the back post that found Routledge lurking with intent. The R's winger took it on the volley but steered his right-foot shot across goal and past the far post.

Minutes later, Ephraim fizzed in a swerving shot from wide on the left, trying to catch out Speroni, but once more, the Eagles keeper was mindful of the threat and recovered well.

Very much in the ascendancy but lacking the killer pass that would unlock the Palace defence, Rangers tried Route One football.

Cerny's kick out was flicked on by first Routledge, then Di Carmine into the path of Taarabt. The Moroccan raced into the box, but with only Speroni to beat, he blazed his shot high over the Eagles' bar.

Palace tried to find a way back into the match, but when they did manage a spell of possession, Stokes could only tamely shoot straight at Cerny, whilst Shefki Kuqi headed well wide from a Moses corner.

Then the moment Rangers fans have been waiting for for 12 months. Taarabt was the man replaced by broken leg victim Vine, to a standing ovation for the R's striker.

And he immediately found his rhythm, launching a fine deep cross from the left that very nearly fell oh so kindly for Routledge.

But even with the boost of Vine's return, and dominating the closing stages, the R's still could not find a way to break through a stubborn Eagles defence, and it remained scoreless, and Rangers had to settle for a share of the points.

QPR: Cerny, Delaney, Leigertwood, Routledge, Gorkss, Ramage, Connolly, Miller (Cook 46), Di Carmine (Balanta 85), Ephraim, Taarabt (Vine 73). Subs: Stewart, Alberti.

Crystal Palace: Speroni, Lawrence, Hill (J.Fonte 40), Derry, Carle, Moses, Danns, Davis, Kuqi (Scowcroft 83), Stokes (Ifill 79), Clyne.
Subs: Hills, R.Fonte. Bookings: Hill (29), Davis (45), Lawrence (60), Moses (82)
Referee: Mr S W Mathieson Attendance: 15,234 QPR

QPR Official Site - Sousa's Comments - SOUSA'S SPOT OF WOE
- Paulo Sousa was left to rue the referee's failure to award his side a last minute spot-kick, as the R's were held to a 0-0 draw against London rivals Crystal Palace.
- Sousa - who saw his side extend their unbeaten run to four matches in all competitions with the point - felt Mr Mathieson should have awarded a penalty when Rowan Vine's cross appeared to be handled in the closing stages, commenting: "I think the referee missed a clear penalty for us.
- "It was a handball, but today it was not given, which is disappointing.

"In a fiery conclusion to the first half, Sousa was sent to the stands for leaving his technical area, in the wake of a series of strong challenges on R's front-man Sami Di Carmine.

"It was becoming dangerous with Sami," Sousa told www.qpr.co.uk.

"There were some really bad challenges on Sami. One was with the players arm, another with a high foot - it's difficult to control your emotions, because I care about my players.

"Sami had blood streaming from his nose, it was a poor challenge.

"I was unhappy and surprised to be sent to the stands. I'm an emotional person, an emotional coach - I was just trying to care for my player."

On the plus side, Sousa hailed the return of Vine, returning to the fray following a year long absence with a fractured leg.

"I was really pleased to see Vine return," he said.

"He played 20 minutes and I am very pleased for him. It was one of the big positives from today." QPR

- Crystal Palace returned to Championship action following the international break with the visit to Loftus Road against a QPR side who went into the game on the back of two victories.
- Palace were without injured John Oster, Nick Carle came back into the midfield for him and Claude Davis is back from injury at the heart of defence with Jose Fonte moving to the bench.
- Rangers include Ex Eagles Wayne Routledge and Mikele Leigertwood in their line up with an outside chance of the play offs still on the cards for the West London outfit.

The first chance on goal came the visitors as Shaun Derry had a shot from distance which went wide but at the other end Rangers first chance brought a save from Julian Speroni. A ball played in by Routledge found Liam Miller but the 'keeper turned the effort around the post.
Just before the half hour mark saw an easier save for Speroni when Adel Taarabt had a chance but shot straight at the man between the sticks. Just a minute later he had to be alert as a deflected chance from Di Carmine came across the face of goal with the Rangers players around him ready to make the most of the chance.

Six minutes before the break and a change is forced for Neil Warnock as he sees Clint Hill have to leave the field with an ankle injury and Jose Fonte comes into the centre of defence. Matt Lawrence goes right back and Nathanial Clyne replaces Hill at left back.

The first caution of the afternoon goes to Davis with six minutes of the half remaining when he catches Di Carmine as the two go for the ball. The outcome of an exchange of words in the dugout area sees Rangers boss Paulo Sousa shown to the stands for protesting with the official - he must of thought the challenge deserved harsher punishment.

The opening minute of the second period saw a good chance from Victor Moses as he showed good control on the edge of the box before producing a curling effort which was dipping towards goal before being tipped over the bar by Radek Cerny in the R's goal.

At the other end Routledge pulled a shot wide at the far post for the home side as the game starts a lot brighter than the first forty five minutes.

The home side looked set to go ahead when Hogan Ephraim broke clear just before the hour mark but once getting past his man he had Speroni to beat but put his effort over the bar in amongst the frustrated R's supporters.

Two more chances came Palace's way midway through the half as Anthony Stokes has a shot saved low down by at the foot of the post by Cerny and Shefki Kuqi heads wide from a Moses corner.

Further change from the bench with 12 minutes remaining as Paul Ifill comes into the game at the expense of Stokes.

He is soon in the game but his shot goes wide and the same happens to an effort from Kuqi as the visitors tried for a late winner.

A late change in the forward line for Palace as James Scowcroft replaced Kuqi for the final eight minutes.

A penalty shout was turned down in the final minutes as Rowan Vine tried to push for the winner but a handball shout was waved away and a disappointing London derby finished with neither side able to break the deadlock. Crystal Palace

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