Fulham 2-2 QPR: Hoops fight back for draw in west London derby
By Simeon Gholam
Last Updated: 19/03/18 11:14am
QPR came from two goals down at Craven Cottage to draw 2-2 and dent Fulham's automatic promotion hopes in the Sky Bet Championship.
Fulham looked well in control of the Saturday lunchtime kick-off when Tom Cairney and Lucas Piazon put them ahead, but Massimo Luongo struck just before the break to revitalise QPR. The away side were better throughout the second half and eventually found the breakthrough when Denis Odoi's error allowed Pawel Wszolek through to score.
Both sides made one change. Lucas Piazon started for Fulham and Luke Freeman came in for QPR.
Slavisa Jokanovic's side had the opportunity to close the gap on second-placed Cardiff, who face Derby on Sunday, but are instead seven points behind the Bluebirds.
QPR defended relatively well for the first half an hour, but came undone after a fantastic solo effort from Cairney. After 32 minutes he charged towards the QPR as the opposition backed off him, before calmly striking low into the bottom corner from 25 yards.
And it looked as though a lovely team move had taken the game beyond QPR after 45 minutes. Ryan Fredericks got down the right and played a low ball into Aleksandar Mitrovic, his touch then found Ryan Sessegnon, who himself laid it back for Piazon to coolly net Fulham's second.
Fulham: Bettinelli (6), Fredericks (7), Ream (6), Odoi (4), Targett (6), McDonald (6), Cairney (7), Johansen (7), Sessegnon (6), Piazon (6), Mitrovic (5)
Subs: Ojo (n/a), Ayite (n/a), Fonte (n/a)
QPR: Smithies (7), Furlong (7), Onuoha (7), Lynch (7), Bidwell (6), Wszolek (8), Luongo (7), Freeman (8), Manning (6), Eze (6), Smith (6)
Subs: Cousins (n/a), Washington (n/a), Smyth (n/a)
Man of the match: Luke Freeman
But QPR would swiftly get themselves back into the game with the last kick of the half. A free-kick was headed back into the path of Luongo by Matt Smith, and he turned brilliantly 12 yards out before volleying past Marcus Bettinelli in the Fulham goal.
QPR had their tails up in the second half and had the better of the chances as they pushed for an equaliser. A great opportunity fell to Smith after 66 minutes after some slack passing at the back from Fulham. The big striker was fed into the box by Luongo but Bettinelli got off his line well to deny him.
But it was another loose piece of defending that eventually cost Fulham after 82 minutes as last man Odoi lost the ball to Wszolek, and the Polish winger charged through and slotted the equaliser to send the away fans wild.
Man of the match - Luke Freeman
Freeman was key for QPR as they got a foothold in the game and eventually turned it on its head at Craven Cottage with a powerful midfield display.
Slavisa Jokanovic: "We cannot be satisfied. I am not here to fight for records, I am here to win the games. We didn't win today, I cannot be satisfied. It's (the record) not important to me. Sometimes we do not find our best performances, we can lose points. After nine victories at home we didn't win the game. We cannot be satisfied.
"To be honest, we didn't find our best performance today, we were a little bit sloppy with the ball. We kept possession without taking on the QPR defensive lines. We managed to score two goals, we had it under control, but the first goal they scored cause important damage. After one unforced mistake they scored the second goal. They deserved that goal because they made a few important entrances and had some chances, half chances.
"We didn't try to change the style. If we do that now, this is without any reason. We had possession but without taking on defensive lines. Our solution cannot be to change the style, and we didn't try to do that."
Ian Holloway: "As the game went on I'm disappointed we didn't end in three points. I'm delighted with the character. We need to be more clinical and not show teams so much respect when we get them as we should have won in the end.
"I needed half-time to have a rant and say 'wait a minute, get a bit closer to people'. I was fuming. I told them to get after people and luckily for me my subs helped. We got about them and we deserved what we got. I believe in my team and we what we are doing,. Do I expect young lads to be consistent? Not really. But I will teach them."
Both sides have two weeks off now during the international break before away trips on Friday, March 30. QPR head to Reading for a 5.30pm kick-off and Fulham travel to Norwich for a 3pm clash.