Rangers and City Light The Fuse for Fireworks at Loftus Road...
QPR 2-3 Man City
League Leaders, Man City's unbeaten start to the season continued, but they were pushed all the way by a superb performance, full of heart, passion and desire from QPR and edged a thrilling encounter at Loftus Road this evening.
I have to be honest, out of our last 3 games, this was the one I dreaded the most. Make no mistake, Multi Million Pound Man City are an awesome team and formidable opposition as many teams have found out already this season with City also, averaging 4 goals per game. I think even the most optimistic of R's fans could see nothing but a heavy defeat this evening. The views were also shared by the gang that assembled at the Springbok, including friends of Jenson, Mark and Greg. At this point, may I just thank everyone who generously sponsored me in my efforts to grow a moustache for the very worthy, 'Movember' Charity. As you could see, there was not much on display today after just 5 days growth, but I am fully expecting some mickey taking come the Stoke away game in 2 weeks time.
Onto the game and Rangers started superbly. Playing in the same 4-4-2 formation that gave Spurs so many problems in the second half last week, Rangers attacked from the off and showed no fear of their high flying opponents. There were half chances for Helguson, before Anton Ferdinand perhaps should have done better from Helguson's superb header across the face of goal.
Rangers were deservedly ahead on 28 minutes, after a dubious free kick decision went our way, Joey Barton delivered a pin point cross onto the head of Jay Bothroyd that gave Hart no chance in the City goal - cue massive celebrations in 3 sides of the ground and also led to a moment I will never forget at football. After the initial goal celebrations, myself, Jenson, Mark, PK, Corp and Lee all turned around to face the other way, put our arms around eachothers shoulders and bounced up and down -doing the Poznan - a celebration that Man City fans have adopted following their Europa League tie with Lech Poznan a couple of seasons ago. Great fun and a light hearted dig at the Man City fans after taking the lead. Minutes later, thousands of others in had joined us and was a great sight to see.
Everyone thought this would prompt a response from City but it was Rangers that continued to attack - Joe Hart saved Jamie Mackie's long range shot and Helguson's headed follow up - although the latter was offside - before Bothroyd hit the post with another header.
But these missed chances proved costly as City drew level 2 minutes before the break - Milner found Dzeko, who cut inside, remained patient, before firing a low drive into the corner of the net. Unfortunately, we now were seeing the Poznan in full effect from City's fans. But during the interval, R's fans were buzzing about the game as a whole and just how well the team were playing.
Rangers started the second half brightly with Barton forcing a decent save from Joe Hart. But it was City that made the second half breakthrough - City broke like lightning and Dzeko's low ball into the centre, found Silva who's superb first touch took him past two R's defenders, before lashing the ball home.
Dzeko and Aguero both had great chances as City looked to put the game to bed. But on 69 minutes, it was the R's fans that were celebrating once more - Traore's low cross was miscued by Savic into the path of Bothroyd, who's goalbound bullet header was helped on it's way by Helguson on the goal line, as the ball hit the back of his head and flew in.
Sadly, just 5 minutes later, Yaya Toure put City back in front, beating Anton Ferdinand to Kolarov's dangerous ball in.
Despite the setback, Rangers still refused to lie down and were almost level again on 82 minutes - Barton's free kick was met by a great leap from Helguson, who saw his header come back of the bar and cleared to safety. Rangers continued to press in the final stages and it was a great compliment, that Mancini sacrificed a striker for a defender as Toure came on to help City stand firm and hold on for the 3 points.
QPR: Kenny, Gabbidon, Bothroyd (Puncheon 77), Faurlin, Mackie (Smith 84), Traore (Hill 90), Barton, Young, Helguson, Wright-Phillips, Ferdinand. Subs: Murphy, Orr, Derry, Andrade.
Man of the Match - Unanimous in the end but not without plenty of contenders. I opted for Anton Ferdinand, Mark chose Joey Barton with Jenson going for Shaun Wright-Phillips. Jess's choice was Heidar Helguson and to be honest, you couldn't argue with any of the above. But with 3 votes from Lee, PK and Corp,this weeks award goes to Ali Faurlin, who absolutely bossed the midfield!!
I could try and summarise this game in depth but would still be writing at this time tomorrow. It was a sensational game of football, the best I have seen this season and despite defeat, Rangers best performance of the season and dare I say, we look so much more like a team when Adel Taarabt doesn't play. That of course is open for discussion. As already mentioned, Man City are an awesome side but we more than matched them, their extensive firepower the only difference between the sides.
This performance led to Rangers gaining some much deserved credit. Man City striker, Edin Dzeko stated after the game on ESPN :
"I must say, they are the best team we have played against this season and I want to pay compliments to Queens Park Rangers."
Also, on tonight's Match of the Day, Alan Hansen said in his summary of the game:
'I feel sorry for QPR, because they were brilliant!!'
Finally, due to the lack of TV camera action today, Jenson turned his attention to radio and had a brief chat with Stan Collymore on Talksport after the game.
Lee will return in 2 weeks time as we travel to Stoke but in the mean time...
And Come on You R'sssssssssssssssssss!!!!