EFL Reporter @simgholam
QPR 1-0 Leeds: Controversial Nahki Wells goal secures victory
Report and highlights from the Sky Bet Championship clash at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium
Last Updated: 18/01/20 6:02pm
Nahki Wells scored a controversial winner as QPR beat Leeds 1-0 in the Sky Bet Championship on Saturday.
Leeds' slump in form continued as they fell to defeat at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium, although the winning goal midway through the first half will be a huge talking point, after the ball struck Wells on both arms before he stroked it home.
The away side did have a huge chance to level the game just after the hour mark, but Patrick Bamford's penalty was saved by QPR goalkeeper Liam Kelly.
It is back-to-back defeats for Leeds in the Championship now, and just one win in seven, allowing their promotion rivals to continue to close what was once an almighty gap. There is now just four points between themselves and Fulham in third. It went from bad to worse late on as well, as Kalvin Phillips was shown a straight red card for a lunge on Geoff Cameron.
Controversial strike seals win in west London
QPR caused all kinds of problems to Leeds on the counter-attack throughout the first half as Ebere Eze and Bright Osayi-Samuel ran at them time and time again, and it was the latter who won the free kick on the edge of the box that led to the first goal on 20 minutes.
- Jack Clarke - the Leeds academy graduate - started on the bench for QPR having joined on loan from Tottenham this week. He spent the first half of the season back on loan at Leeds, having signed from the club for Spurs in the summer, but saw his playing time extremely limited by Marcelo Bielsa. Elsewhere, Liam Kelly started in goal, Conor Masterson made a first Championship start and Lee Wallace came in.
- For Leeds there was just one change as Pablo Hernandez started in place of the injured Barry Douglas.
Wells' opener, however, was controversial to say the least. Eze's free kick ricocheted off the head of Luke Ayling and hit the arm of the QPR striker, before it bounced up and hit his other hand. That second deflection caused the ball to sit up perfectly, and provided him with a virtually unguarded net to slot into, as Kiko Casilla had already dived to his left to try and save the initial set-piece attempt.
Marcelo Bielsa made a change at the break as he threw on Ezgjan Alioski for Stuart Dallas - who had been run absolutely ragged at left-back by Osayi-Samuel and was on a yellow card.
Leeds took the game back to QPR and had a glorious opportunity to level after 62 minutes as Bamford won a penalty off Kelly, but the goalkeeper dusted himself down and pushed Bamford's resulting low effort from 12 yards wide of the post.
Leeds just couldn't find a way through and Phillips' late red card ended any hopes of a comeback. He will likely now miss three games to leave Leeds' squad looking even thinner. It won't have done his England chances any good if Gareth Southgate was watching, either.
It allowed QPR to get back to winning ways after a disappointing result at Brentford last week and edge back up the table towards the play-offs.
What the managers said...
QPR's Mark Warburton: "We were good in the first half and I thought we deserved the lead at half-time. We could have had a couple more scruffy goals in the first half, so I thought we deserved the half-time lead. We got too deep in the second half and invited them onto us. They're a very good team and we rode our luck a bit.
"But so much credit to the players and the way they stood up, to a man. Leeds are a highly talented team. So much pleasure was taken by the players from today's performance because that type of game, defensively, you do have to stand up. You have to throw your body in front of the ball and show old-fashioned defending. Sometimes you do have to win ugly. Today you saw a QPR team that have won nice games but this time won in ugly fashion. That's heartening for all of us."
Leeds' Marcelo Bielsa: "It's clear that we have not taken advantage of our chances. We have to have a lot of chances to score one goal. I don't think there's a lack of confidence or that it's about nerves. There were moments where we lacked efficiency but I don't think this happened because of a lack of confidence.
"The team played according to our style. We played in the opposite half and had a lot more chances than our opponents. Of course there are things we wish were different, like our set pieces and our crosses. In matches like this, where it's difficult to score, you have to have the answers. The supporters will recognise the good moments of the team but they will do a good evaluation. Never try to change the opinion of the fans."
Man of the match: Liam Kelly
Handed his first start in the Championship since early November, with his last appearance coming in the reverse fixture against Leeds at Elland Road, he certainly took his chance with both hands. Kelly may have conceded the penalty, but more than made up for it with a fantastic save from Bamford.
QPR's next game is an FA Cup fourth-round tie at home to Sheffield Wednesday on Friday night. Their next Championship game is at Blackburn the following Tuesday night.
Leeds have a 10-day break now before facing Millwall at Elland Road on Tuesday, January 28.