QPR 1-2 Spurs
Report from Loftus Road
07 March 2015|Tottenham Hotspur
Harry Kane grabbed goals 25 and 26 of his campaign as we fought out a 2-1 win at Loftus Road on Saturday.
The unstoppable striker headed home from Andros Townsend's free-kick in the 34th minute before clinically finishing one-on-one in the 68th minute.
Former Spur Sandro pulled a goal back for the home side with 15 minutes remaining but, despite a couple of nervy moments in the box, we held on for a second win in the space of four days - a superb response after the disappointment of losing out in the Europa League and Capital One Cup Final.
Spring had arrived in West London as the sun shone down on Loftus Road before kick-off. Wednesday’s win over Swansea marked the end of our midweek fixtures for the 2014-15 season as we returned to a more traditional Saturday 3pm kick-off, with both sides having plenty to play for as we hit the business end of the season.
Head Coach Mauricio Pochettino made just one change from the side that he has stuck with over the last two games, with Ben Davies coming in at left-back for Danny Rose.
For the home side there were three former Spurs players in the starting XI with Steven Caulker, Sandro and Bobby Zamora all lining up against us, while Niko Kranjcar was on the bench.
The home side came flying out of the blocks and put us immediately under pressure as an early ball into the box caused problems before Zamora looped a header against the top of the crossbar – though skipper Hugo Lloris appeared to have it covered.
The home side were on the front foot but we were a whisker away from breaking the deadlock when Kane brought the best out of Hoops goalkeeper Rob Green. Andros Townsend had been our most lively player in the early stages and he did well to release Kyle Walker on the right, who whipped a dangerous cross in for Kane that he headed goalwards - only for Green to push it brilliantly over the bar.
The chance seemed to shake us into life as we forced a series of corners before squandering a good opening. Kane found space on the right and slipped a low cross in to Jan Vertonghen who had galloped forward in support. Unfortunately the Belgian international took a heavy touch as he escaped the QPR defence and the ball went out for a goal kick.
Moments later, however, we were almost the architects of our own demise. Walker failed to spot the lurking Charlie Austin and his header back to Lloris was duly intercepted by the R’s striker who forced a fine double stop from our stopper when he appeared likely to break the deadlock.
It was a half that ebbed and flowed, with both sides enjoying spells of pressure though as we hit the half-hour mark, the home side could consider themselves unfortunate not to be in front after another gilt-edged opportunity fell to Austin. Matt Phillips slipped a diagonal ball in from the left that was dummied well by Caulker, allowing Austin to skip beyond our back line. Opting to shoot early, he thundered an effort past Lloris but against the crossbar before we managed to scramble the ball away.
It was a let-off for us but we responded in the best possible fashion by grabbing the lead just four minutes later. Kane was hauled down midway inside Rangers’ half, prompting referee Craig Pawson to award a free-kick. Townsend curled in the set piece and there was Kane to nod past Green for his 25th goal of the season.
With time ticking away the home side had appeals for a penalty waved away before we almost doubled our lead in stoppage time. Walker found space in the right channel and let fly with a shot that deflected favourably off of Mason and forced Green into a fine low save, the keeper gathering the ball at the second attempt with Kane lurking.
We came flying out of the blocks for the second period as first Christian Eriksen hit the woodwork with a curling effort from 25 yards before Townsend stole possession and tried his luck from similar distance two minutes later but was high and wide.
It was an improved showing on the first half and we started to look more of a threat on the break. Nonetheless we were indebted to Lloris early on when he stood up brilliantly to fist Zamora’s volley behind for a corner at his near post.
Austin had been a menace in our penalty box for Rangers but soon after the Loftus Road crowd were on their feet to applaud his defensive work. Kane played in Walker in the right channel and he arrowed towards goal, but his shot was met by the sprawling Green. The ball spun loose to Eriksen who smashed an effort towards the vacant net but somehow Austin launched himself at it to block.
We were enjoying our best period of the match, finding more and more space in the QPR half and with just over 20 minutes to go we doubled our lead through none other than Kane. Mason had time to get the sand wedge out of the bag in the centre circle and picked out Kane with a perfectly weighted chip. The striker had timed his run to perfection to beat the off-side trap and kept his cool to round Green and slot home.
The goal appeared to take the sting out of the contest but not for long as the home side set up a grandstand finish through Sandro. Zamora did well to hold off his man and lay the ball back into the path of the Brazilian, who picked his spot from 20 yards and hit a low, hard shot into the corner past Lloris.
Junior Hoilett fired over and there were screams for handball from the home side in the final five minutes, but the appeals were waved away.
Phillips' dangerous low cross in added time was collected by Lloris and that was that.
Mauricio Pochettino said
“It’s a big result, big three points and I’m very pleased for our players, we showed real character and this is fantastic,” said Mauricio at Loftus Road.
“It’s always difficult to play against QPR but I thought our performance in the second half was brilliant.
“We played very well but that’s not enough, you also need to show fight and character and we did that. We need to be proud of our players. It was a fantastic performance.”
Meanwhile, Mauricio went back out onto the pitch after the final whistle – and he told us why. “My two sons and my brother, over from Argentina, were in the crowd,” he said. “Maybe I’ll say to stay here because they brought us good luck!”
Queens Park Rangers: Green; Onuoha, Caulker, Ferdinand, Suk-Young; Isla (Hoilett, 71), Sandro (Wright-Phillips, 90+3), Henry (Grego-Cox, 88), Phillips; Austin, Zamora. Substitutes (not used): McCarthy, Hill, Kranjcar, Comley.
Spurs: Lloris; Walker, Dier, Vertonghen, Davies; Bentaleb, Mason; Townsend (Dembele, 65), Eriksen (Stambouli, 88), Chadli (Lamela, 79); Kane. Substitutes (not used): Vorm, Fazio, Rose, Soldado.
Goals: QPR - Sandro (75). Spurs - Kane (34, 68).
Yellow cards: QPR - Henry (61). Spurs - Bentaleb (63), Mason (81).
Referee: Craig Pawson.