sport
  • English Barclays Premier League
  • 2 February 2013, 12:45pm
  • Loftus Road
  • Attendance: 17,543
QPRQPRvNorwichNorwich
00

live commentary

FULL TIME: QPR have to settle for their fifth successive league draw, and their third Prem blank scoresheet in a row at home. This result will be more favourably received by Norwich, who competed well throughout in as tightly-matched a game I've seen all season. Bunn's penalty save from Taarabt was undoubtedly the crucial moment. Andros Townsend was the most impressive of the plethora of debutants and both defences were generally impressive.

90+3 mins: Norwich yell for a penalty as Ben Haim appears to give Becchio a little shove as a cross way coming in. You've seen them given, but in the 93rd minute of such a tight match, it would have taken balls of steel from ref Moss.

90 mins: We're into five minutes of injury time as Snodgrass puts in a cruncher on Taarabt to give QPR a free kick 40-odd yards out. Derry floats it in, Bassong clears.

88 mins: Another debutant comes on - this time for Norwich. Luciano Becchio enters the fray for Hoolahan.

86 mins: Bunn is having a stormer. Townsend pings an absolute bullet towards his top corner from 25 yards but Bunn sprawls to his left to make a superb save. From the corner, Hill climbs for a free header but gets his timing just a little wrong and nods off target.

85 mins: Bassong is booked for mistiming a challenge on Mackie, who had over-run the ball.

84 mins: It's still such an even game. Holt's side-footer from 20 yards is collected at the foot of his post by Cesar.

83 mins: Chance for Zamora! The lively Townsend floats in a peach of a cross to the far stick, Zamora is grappling with Martin but heads it wide. He complains bitterly about a shirt tug, but replays show his case is pretty weak.

80 mins: Ludicrous decision by referee John Moss. Turner bravely puts his head in against Mackie, and wins the header. Not only is he whistled for a foul right on the edge of the box, but he's booked too. Jenas takes the free kick, it's heading towards the bottom corner but it hits Bassong.

79 mins: Oooh! Snodgrass lets fly with a howitzer from 25 yards. Cesar dives across his line and tips it wide. I think it may just have been going wide anyway, or at least hitting the post. Here's Pete in Belfast: "Respect to harry for talking on this job i hope qpr survive purely out of respect for redknapp a terrific manager and shud of been englands manager."I don't know where to start with that one Pete, except to say I disagree with every single word.

76 mins: Bassong gives Garrido a hospital pass and is robbed by the tenacious Mackie. He lays it back for Townsend to cut inside a challenge and rasp a left-footed effort at goal from 20 yards, but it's meat and drink for Bunn.

74 mins: Hill is booked for a flying tackle on Bennett. Redknapp throws on a fourth debutant of the day - Tal Ben Haim comes on for Fabio.

71 mins: Will there be a late twist in this game? The hurly burly of the last 15 minutes has eased slightly. Steve in Bolton offers: "Dont think Houdini will escape this time. Must be concerned by the dramatic improvement in Reading." "Mike Dale is a rabbit," says Daniel in Manchester. Dan - I thank you for your contribution.

69 mins: On comes third QPR debutant Jermaine Jenas, who replaces Mbia. Jenas is the 49th player the R's have used in the Premier League this season. God help them if they get relegated.

66 mins: Many apologies. I've just head a laptop meltdown, and it just had to happen when the game's getting frenetic. Tettey's just been booked for a lunging tackle, and Samba's flick header from yet another Taarabt free kick is cleared off the line by Holt!

61 mins: Chances at either end again as Taarabt and then Johnson for Norwich both let rip with long-range efforts that zip around all over the place. Both keepers are able to pound them away.

56 mins: PENALTY SAVED!An incredible save from Bunn! He dives low to his left side to deny Taarabt who cannot believe he's got a hand to it! What a chance for QPR to take the lead.

55 MINS: PENALTY TO QPR! Mackie pounces on a loose ball inside the area and is brought down by Bunn! It didn't look like a penalty on first viewing but replays show that the Norwich goalie clearly took away the striker's legs. Tarrabt will take it...

53 mins: QPR make a change with Wright-Phillips coming for the the stranger that is Zamora.

52 mins: This is a great spell of pressure from Norwich! Derry and then Samba make crucial interventions inside their own six-yard box. Also, Cesar is at his very best too to deny Hoolahan who seems certain to convert Johnson's cross on the volley from close range.

50 mins: This game is beginning to really hot up now as Garrido goes in the book for a rash tackle.

47 mins:So close for QPR! Taarabt whips an absolute devil of a free kick into a packed box from the right. It's tantalising into the 'corridor of uncertainty', Bunn stays on his line and about eight players throw themselves at it. Mbia is closest at the far post but cannot quite get the necessary touch to knock it in.

46 mins: We're under way again. I was *this close* to having a dabble on this game having 'one goal or fewer' before kick off. Curses.

HALF TIME: Deadlock. A very even first half with possession, chances and endeavour all in pretty equal measure from both sides. Individual and collective quality hasn't been especially high, but there's enough at stake for the game to retain a whiff of intrigue for the neutral.

45 mins: We'll have just one further minute before the players disappear for a slurp of Lucozade.

42 mins: Taarabt crosses low for Mackie, with his back to goal, but some physical hassling frmo Turner sees the striker lose control, and his bleating for a penalty is highly optimistic. The game is still pretty even, and fairly watchable. Not a classic by anyone's standards, but just about enough to stop you from turning over for the rugby.

40 mins: Snodgrass makes a bit of a mess of the resulting free kick. Over by the subs bench, Turner is receiving treatment for a facial wound while Samba nods over the bar from yet another Taarabt free kick.

39 mins: A Mbia foul on Bennett sees referee John Moss lose patience with the midfielder, who receives a booking for the latest in a string of niggly fouls. He ain't happy and delivers some lengthy backchat to the man with the whistle. He's not going to change his mind mate.

37 mins: QPR load the box as Taarabt prepares to take a free kick from out on the left. But again, the Moroccan floats it straight into the hands of Bunn.

35 mins: Wright-Phillips does brilliantly to take a Taarabt pass, with his back to goal, and spin away from Garrido, who was right up his derriere. The Spaniard just about recovers quickly enough to put SWP off his shot, which he screws wide. For a split second, the ex-England winger looked clean through there.

32 mins: Norwich win a corner and Turner is only just beaten to it by Hill beyond the far post. It leads to another corner, which is nodded down into the six yard box but no Canary is in the right spot to hook it in.

30 mins: Another opportunity for Norwich. Johnson rises amidst a clutch of players to meet a left-wing cross. He directs it towards the corner of the net but it lacks power and Cesar doesn't have to dive to pluck it into his gloves.

27 mins: Chance for Norwich. Hoolahan's impish industry gets him into a crossing position out right. He picks out Snodgrass about eight yards out but he doesn't quite time the header correctly and can only nod it tamely straight at Cesar.

24 mins: Pilkington has picked up an injury and is replaced by Elliot Bennett.

22 mins: Norwich are competing very well in some meaty midfield battles with the likes of Mbia and Derry. QPR have had more chances, but the earlier volley over the bar by Hoolahan was by far the best opportunity so far.

18 mins: Holt tries to shuffle his way down the right flank, loses control of the ball, sees that Mbia is going to win it off him and so dives - blatantly - with only Hill nearby. The referee falls for it and awards a free kick. Hill is flabberghasted.

16 mins: The R's continue to pressurise. They win the first corner of the game, it comes to nowt, then Taarabt's free kick into the box is confidently claimed by Bunn.

14 mins: QPR are building up a head of steam here. Intricate build-up to this chance, inevitably involving Taarabt, and the ball is eventually fed into Mackie. He steals half a yard and from a tight angle fires his shot past the far post with Bunn not moving a muscle.

12 mins: Taarabt takea a third whack from distance. This one is a little less exciting. He has options to his left and right, ignores them and smacks his shot straight at a Norwich defender.

Keith, Crewe:"I think that Adel Taarabt will get a hat-trick today! 3-1 QPR"

10 mins: Oooh! Taarabt's on the prowl again. He rides a pretty ropey tackle from Garrido, bustles past Tettey and unleashes a low drive across goal that only just beats Bunn's far post.

7 mins: The game has settled down in the last few minutes. Taarabt is busy as ever, only just failing to capitalise on a Bassong slip. "If Odemwingie, Jenas & Samba were so desparate to join a relegation battle,they shdv gone to Hartlepool," chorltes Chris in Exeter.

4 mins: Wonderful chance for Norwich! They've spent the last three minutes keeping the ball very nicely and crave out a great chance. Johnson wriggles past Traore down the right and fires a powerful cross into the six yard box. Hoolahan has got free of his marker but the ball comes at him at an awkward height, and he can only back-flick a volley over Cesar's bar from close range.

1 mins: Just 43 seconds gone when Taarabt is afforded just enough room by Norwich to crack away a shot from 20 yards but it floats over Bunn's goal.

0 mins: We're under way! It's nice and sunny at Loftus Road where excitement, anxiety and trepidation greet the run-in to the end of the season for QPR. Having lavished such a bewildering amount of money on new players during the January transfer window, the pressure to stay in the Premier League is now immense for Harry Redknapp. R's fans will be casting an eye towards Fratton Park and hoping Portsmouth's story isn't repeated here in Shepherd's Bush.

Norwich, in a spot of bother themselves having not won a league game since December 15, are the visitors today. Having shut up shop in recent goalless home games with Tottenham and Man City, one feels the hosts will have to be a bit more adventurous against the Canaries.

Team news: Christopher Samba makes his debut for Rangers as does Andros Townsend. Jermaine Jenas is on the bench, but Loic Remy has suffered an injury in training and is replaced by Jamie Mackie up front. Luciano Becchio is a substitute for Norwich but the first XI is unchanged from the midweek draw with Tottenham. Full line-ups are below.

Send in your pre-match musing, bets and any other business by using the boxes on your right.

  • English Barclays Premier League
  • 2 February 2013, 12:45pm
  • Loftus Road
  • Attendance: 17,543
QPRQPRvNorwichNorwich
00

match report

Mark Bunn's penalty save denied Queens Park Rangers a crucial win after they were held to a goalless draw by Norwich at Loftus Road.

Bunn was the hero for Norwich when he kept out Adel Taarabt's second-half spot-kick to earn Norwich a hard-fought point.

The draw leaves QPR rooted to the bottom of the table and stretched Norwich's winless run to eight games.

Norwich created the first opening of the game on four minutes when Robert Snodgrass beat Armand Traore down the right and picked out Wes Hoolahan inside the six-yard box, but the midfielder could only poke his shot over the crossbar.

Adel Taarabt looked the man most likely for QPR and the Moroccan went close on 10 minutes when he beat a couple of Norwich challenges on the edge of the box before fizzing his shot just wide of the target.

Shaun Wright-Phillips had QPR's final chance of a disappointing opening half when he got on the end of Taarabt's superb pass, but the winger sliced his effort well wide.

The game burst into life in the second half with Julio Cesar producing a superb save to keep out Hoolahan's close-range effort after Snodgrass picked him out unmarked inside the six-yard box.

QPR were handed a great chance to break the deadlock on 56 minutes when they were awarded a penalty after Bunn was adjudged to have brought down Mackie inside the box. Taarabt took responsibility from the spot, but Bunn, who was booked for the foul on Mackie, produced a superb save low down to his left to keep out his effort.

Taarabt was keen to make up his penalty miss and he fired a free-kick just over the crossbar before drilling in a swerving shot which Bunn did well to keep out.

QPR were piling on the pressure in search of a goal and Samba went close on 68 minutes when his header was cleared off the line by Grant Holt.

Snograss went close for Norwich on 79 minutes with a stinging 30-yard effort which Cesar was forced to turn round the post.

QPR poured forward in the closing stages in search of a breakthrough and Andros Townsend was denied by Bunn three minutes from time with the Norwich goalkeeper producing a superb save to keep out the winger's fierce effort from 25 yards.

text the commentator

team line-up

33Julio César
3Armand Traore
5Christopher Samba
20Fabio74
6Clint Hill
40Stéphane Mbia69
4Shaun Derry
29Andros Townsend
11Shaun Wright-Phillips54
10Adel Taarabt
12Jamie Mackie

substitutes

25Bobby Zamora54
21Tal Ben Haim74
37Jay Bothroyd
16Jermaine Jenas69
14Esteban Granero
7Park Ji-Sung
1Robert Green

referee

Jonathan Moss

team line-up

28Mark Bunn
2Russell Martin
6Michael Turner
5Sébastien Bassong
18Javier Garrido
12Anthony Pilkington24
4Bradley Johnson
7Robert Snodgrass
27Alexander Tettey
9Grant Holt
14Wes Hoolahan87

substitutes

19Luciano Becchio87
10Simeon Jackson
17Elliott Bennett24
24Ryan Bennett
3Steven Whittaker
8Jonathan Howson
42Lee Camp

referee

Jonathan Moss

match stats

possession %4950
shots on target56
shots off target83
corners108
tackles won1918
offsides21