QPR 1 Tottenham 0: Taarabt scores the winner before being sent off against imploding former club
18:43 GMT, 21 April 2012
Adel Taarabt, the man Harry Redknapp once described as a 'fruitcake', lived up to his bad-boy reputation by scoring the winner and then getting sent off as QPR inflicted yet more misery on sorry Tottenham at Loftus Road.
Taarabt, who left Spurs to join QPR two years ago, came back to haunt his former boss by curling home a wonderful first-half free-kick to boost QPR's survival hopes and put a severe dent in Tottenham's Champions League hopes.
The Moroccan lived up to his firebrand billing in the second half when he received a second booking for kicking the ball away.
Breakthrough: Adel Taarabt celebrates after scoring in the first half
Off you go: Mark Clattenburg sent off Taarabt after a long delay
QPR: Kenny, Hill, Taiwo, Ferdinand, Onuoha, Diakite (Buzsaky 69), Derry, Taarabt, Mackie, Barton, Zamora
Subs not used: Cerny, Gabbidon, Traore, Wright-Phillips, Helguson, Cisse
Booked: Taarabt, Zamora, Onuoha, Hill
Sent off: Taarabt
Goal: Taarabt 24
Friedel, Walker, Gallas, King, Assou-Ekotto (Rose 66), Parker (Giovani
84), Sandro (Lennon 46) Modric, Bale, Van der Vaart, Defoe
Subs not used: Cudicini, Khumalo, Smith, Livermore
Taarabt's actions will be forgotten by
QPR boss Mark Hughes, though, as the forward's goal means his team are
three points clear of the drop zone.
QPR thoroughly deserved their fourth
successive home victory as they had more spirit, creativity and energy
than a desperately lacklustre Spurs, who are now fifth in the Barclays
Premier League table – some three points behind Newcastle with only four
games of the campaign left.
Redknapp's team have now won just once in their last nine league games and their campaign looks set to end in failure.
Apart from the 12 minutes in which QPR
had 10 men, a home win looked on the cards throughout and Rangers
should have perhaps won by more.
The hosts stamped their authority on the game from kick-off.
Jamie Mackie in particular started
brightly, taking the ball off Luka Modric and slipping past Benoit
Assou-Ekotto and Gareth Bale before firing wide.
Steady: Taarabt fires home from a free-kick
Gathering: The Moroccan celebrates with QPR coaching staff
Tottenham, racked with nerves, played like anything but a top-four side in the opening 10 minutes.
Kyle Walker and Friedel were involved in a mix-up that almost gifted Rangers an easy opener.
They were also lacking going forward.
After being out-muscled in midfield they had to resort to a long-ball
game – something that was never going to work with the diminutive
Jermain Defoe leading the line.
Samba Diakite made a mockery of the
Spurs defence early on by coasting past Modric to slip in to the box but
he dragged his shot wide.
Not there yet: Mark Hughes watched as his players celebrated the opener
Outfought: Scott Parker could not help Tottenham secure a point
Spurs momentarily came back in to the
game with Paddy Kenny saving brilliantly from Bale and Rafael van der
Vaart in quick succession, but their resurgence was short-lived as
Rangers took the lead.
Mark Clattenburg blew for what
appeared to be a handball against Sandro 25 yards out and Taarabt curled
the ball over the wall and in to the bottom corner past a despondent
Friedel, who perhaps should have done better.
Bale scooped a lovely ball over the
QPR back four to find Defoe but Nedum Onuoha put in a crucial block as
Spurs looked for an instant reply.
Van der Vaart rifled a half-volley at goal and Kenny's parry fell in to Defoe's path but he could only nod over.
QPR ended the first half on top.
Taarabt had time to subject
Assou-Ekotto to a series of teasing step-overs on the touchline before
the break and Joey Barton's deflected shot sailed over.
Struggle: Bobby Zamora cannot get away from Sandro
After seeing his team booed off by
their own fans at half-time, Redknapp brought on Aaron Lennon for Sandro
at to add a bit of width, but still Spurs struggled to get in to the
Diakite muscled his way past Scott Parker and William Gallas before burying a shot in to the side-netting.
Bobby Zamora wasted a good chance to
seal the game in the 68th minute when Gallas allowed him room but the
former Spurs striker dallied, allowing substitute Danny Rose to put in a
Redknapp opted to switch Lennon and
Bale – a move that went down terribly with the away fans, who sang:
'Gareth Bale, he plays on the left.'
Onuoha caught Parker's trailing leg,
but Clattenburg waved play on. Barton insisted that Parker had dived to
earn a free-kick and pushed the England captain.
Taarabt plunged his team's victory in to doubt with 12 minutes to go when he kicked the ball away to earn a second booking.
Harry for England Tottenham have been playing particularly badly after the England manager's job became available
Tussle: Benoit Assou-Ekotto vies with Jamie Mackie
Modric stung Kenny's hands as
Tottenham looked to use their numerical advantage and Redknapp brought
on Giovani Dos Santos for Parker.
Anton Ferdinand headed Bale's cross away at the near post as Spurs piled on the pressure in the closing minutes.
Dos Santos drew a good save from Kenny in the final minute and Van der Vaart tested the stopper again in injury time.
Five minutes of added time were called
but despite their best efforts Spurs could not find an equaliser and
they ended the day outside the top four for the first time since