QPR 4-1 Norwich: Hoops cruise to victory
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 02/04/18 6:39pm
Matt Smith scored one goal and provided two assists as QPR thrashed Norwich 4-1 at Loftus Road.
Massimo Luongo's goal - his fourth in seven games - hauled Rangers level straight after Ryan Manning's freak first-half own goal had given the Canaries a 38th-minute lead.
Smith headed home 10 minutes into the second half to put the hosts ahead, and then teed up youngster Ebere Eze to make it 3-1 five minutes later. Manning scored at the right end with 10 minutes remaining, heading in Jake Bidwell's left-wing cross to complete a resounding QPR triumph.
Norwich had made the better start and Nelson Oliveira was denied by challenges from Smith and Bidwell early on.
Oliveira saw a shot deflected wide by Smith after being found by James Maddison, while Bidwell reacted quickly to move across from left-back and prevent Mario Vrancic's cross reaching the City forward.
Vrancic headed wide from Maddison's corner before Rangers finally registered a shot on target when Gunn gathered a long-range effort from Joel Lynch.
Luke Freeman then had one shot saved by Gunn and fired another wide before a frenetic four-minute spell sparked the game into life.
Smith headed Eze's cross against the post shortly before the visitors went ahead. Harrison Reed raced down the left and crossed towards Josh Murphy. Josh Scowen slid in to tackle the Canaries winger and the ball ricocheted off the unlucky Manning and into the net.
But Rangers took less than two minutes to find an equaliser. Luongo exchanged passes with Smith inside the box, evaded two challenges and nudged the ball beyond Angus Gunn and into the far corner.
It was one-way traffic after the break. Smith's goal was his fourth in his last seven starts and his ninth of the season.
When the ball looped into the air after Smith had stuck out a foot and inadvertently blocked Scowen's shot, keeper Gunn looked well placed to mop up the danger.
However, he was left embarrassed by target-man Smith, who rose above him and nodded in from the edge of the six-yard box.
Smith then laid on a goal for Eze, heading Scowen's long ball down to the teenage forward, who held off Ivo Pinto and slotted past Gunn.
Freeman then went close with a free-kick before Manning emphatically ended any prospect of a late Norwich comeback.
Ian Holloway: "We've got different skill-sets. Matt is as good at doing what he does as anyone in our league and in the top league. And we've got Ebere and what he's got. He's very exciting. I want him to create goals and score for us.
"I'm very pleased with him. He's a wonderfully balanced, intelligent boy and he wants to learn. He glides and he floats. Ebere just beats you so easily. I want to encourage him to get in there and the team to give it to him. We've got belief and why wouldn't you have that with the skill we have on the pitch? I can see us getting stronger and stronger."
Daniel Farke: "Our whole preparation was nearly all about [Smith]. That's their style - long ball - and then he wins the headers and you have to win the second ball.
"I have the feeling they didn't create any chance out of the game but anyhow they played the long balls and we lost the duels."