QPR 0-1 Norwich: Teemu Pukki's chested goal earns Canaries third successive win
Report and highlights from Sky Bet Championship clash
By Dan Long
Last Updated: 22/09/18 8:41pm
Teemu Pukki chested a fortunate winner to end QPR's recent renaissance and secure a 1-0 victory for Norwich at Loftus Road on Saturday evening.
QPR boss Steve McClaren had restored Tomer Hemed to the starting XI, leaving breakout star Ebere Eze on the flank, but they struggled to pose an attacking threat as Norwich controlled the first period.
Although Rangers improved after the break, Pukki - a summer signing from Brondby - made the most of Marco Stiepermann's deflected cross to chest home in outrageous fashion and secure the three points.
QPR: Lumley (6), Baptiste (7), Leistner (7), Lynch (6), Bidwell (6), Eze (5), Scowen (5), Luongo (6), Freeman (6), Wells (5), Hemed (6)
Subs: Cousins (n/a), Osayi-Samuel (n/a), Smith (n/a)
Norwich: Krul (6), Aarons (6), Zimmermann (6), Klose (7), Lewis (8), Leitner (6), Tettey (5), Buendia (5), Stiepermann (7), Cantwell (7), Pukki (7)
Subs: Vrancic (5), Trybull (n/a), Rhodes (n/a)
Man of the match: Jamal Lewis
Norwich end the week with three wins from three and sit just two points off the top six in a congested Sky Bet Championship table, while Rangers end the weekend in 16th place.
Having capped a four-game unbeaten run with a 2-0 win over Millwall in midweek, the hosts were naturally brimming with confidence ahead of the game, though they were soon brought down to earth.
Eze, QPR's top scorer this season with three goals, was caught out early on as Todd Cantwell turned inside him and lined up to shoot before the commanding presence of Toni Leistner put paid to any subsequent effort.
Midway through the first half, the best chance fell to Norwich. Cantwell dropped the ball off to Jamal Lewis and the left-back fizzed the ball across goal, but Pukki could not apply the required touch at the far post.
Norwich dominated proceedings with little to show for their toils and, had luck not been on Tim Krul's side, they could have been behind when the Dutch stopper fumbled a Massimo Luongo free-kick with Hemed lurking.
Following Wednesday evening's eye-catching 2-0 victory over Millwall, QPR boss Steve McClaren made three alterations to his side, with Alex Baptiste, Josh Scowen and Tomer Hemed replacing Angel Rangel, Geoff Cameron and Jordan Cousins.
Norwich, meanwhile, started with the same 11 that won away at Reading in midweek, though Michael McGovern and Louis Thompson returned to the bench.
The home fans sensed an improvement from their side after the break, though it was Norwich who again caused the first scare as Cantwell sent Pukki's cross deep into Loftus Road's away section.
The visitors finally broke the deadlock in the 71st minute when the ball fell Pukki's way and he chested home for his fifth Championship goal of the season.
Rangers did increase their intensity as the full-time whistle edged closer but, although Luke Freeman forced a fingertip save from Krul with a thunderous drive and Luongo was denied a late penalty after a challenge by Mario Vrancic, they couldn't muster enough to earn the draw.
Man of the match - Jamal Lewis
The youthful full-back pairing of Jamal Lewis and Max Aarons continues to impress and the former was the figure who particularly shone at Loftus Road on Saturday. Often spotted in the final third of QPR's half, he was rarely caught short and offered a dangerous threat on the left hand side.
Despite being just 20-years-old, he already has three Northern Ireland caps to his name and his performance will have no doubt pleased national team boss Michael O'Neil, who was watching on in the stands in west London.
Steve McClaren: "It was the third game in a week - you could see there was good play, good endeavour and it was about quality in both boxes. It was always going to be a one-goal game or a 0-0 and it wasn't even a proper goal but the difference is that we didn't score. We had enough opportunities, half-chances and you've seen the penalty against Luongo at the end. They got the break, we didn't.
"I'm disappointed. We said if we defended really well, which we did do, we'll score because we have that quality. That was lacking and it's always the same in a three-game week. I thought we had the quality to do it and we didn't in the end. Six points from three games is what I wanted and we're unlucky not to get more today."
Daniel Farke: "The key today was that we made this game our game. This meant controlling the ball, dominating possession, moving the ball quickly so there we had dominance on the pitch. It's not like we have strong, physical guys and we are able to win the headers, so you have to control the ball and we were able to do this.
"To be honest in the first half I felt just one side were playing and there was a bit missing in the first half. We had so many good chances - Jamal Lewis two times when he played the finishing pass. We were more dangerous in the second half as well."
Both sides are in Carabao Cup third round action on Tuesday evening as QPR travel north to face Blackpool and Norwich are welcomed to Adams Park by Wycombe.