Queens Park Rangers vs Stoke City. Sky Bet Championship.
Loftus Road StadiumAttendance16,901.
Report and free match highlights from the Sky Bet Championship match between QPR and Stoke City at Loftus Road on Tuesday | Marti Cifuentes claims first win in charge of Rangers as they are finally victorious at home.
Tuesday 28 November 2023 23:09, UK
Two late goals gave QPR a 4-2 victory over 10-man Stoke - their first win in 13 matches and only their second at home since October last year.
After Lyndon Dykes put the hosts ahead, Ryan Mmaee's third goal in his past six appearances brought Stoke level.
Enda Stevens was sent off early in the second half but Wouter Burger put the Potters ahead before Dykes netted his second of the night.
Ben Pearson's last-minute own goal was the stroke of luck struggling Rangers desperately needed, and Chris Willock added a fourth in stoppage time.
Before kick-off, QPR paid tribute to club great Terry Venables, with rousing applause for the former England boss following his death last week.
Venables was a popular player at Loftus Road and during a four-year spell as manager guided Rangers to an FA Cup final, promotion to the top flight and then a fifth-placed finish which saw the club qualify for Europe.
QPR's current plight is a far cry from those heady days, but current boss Marti Cifuentes will at least take some encouragement from their relative improvement since his recent appointment.
His first win came in the Spaniard's fourth match at the helm - a run which has included two draws.
Rangers took the lead after 11 minutes, when Dykes scored from the spot after Stevens was adjudged to have fouled Steve Cook while trying to prevent him from reaching Paul Smyth's cross.
However, they missed two glorious chances to double their lead - and then conceded an equaliser a minute before half-time.
After Pearson made a mess of trying to intercept Ilias Chair's pass, the ball bounced off Elijah Dixon-Bonner to Smyth, who was denied at point-blank range by keeper Jack Bonham.
Another defensive mishap, this time by Ciaran Clark, who presented the ball straight to Dykes, gifted the Scotland striker an opportunity but he shot straight at Bonham.
Immediately after that let-off for Stoke, they broke forward and keeper Asmir Begovic tipped away Tyrese Campbell's effort after the forward found himself through on goal.
From the resulting corner by Bae Jun-Ho, Mmaee fired into the bottom corner after his first shot had been blocked.
When Stevens was sent off eight minutes after the interval, the tide seemed to be turning in QPR's favour.
The defender pulled back Smyth near the edge of the penalty area and was shown a second yellow card.
But six minutes later, Stoke went ahead when Burger collected Mmaee's pass near the edge of the penalty area and sent a left-footed strike beyond Begovic and in off the post.
Rangers responded, with Chair shooting against a post before Dykes hauled them level in the 79th minute.
Willock's cross was cleared as far as Dykes, who controlled the ball on his chest before shooting low into the bottom corner.
Great work on the left by substitute Ziyad Larkeche led to the all-important goal which put Rangers ahead.
Larkeche fought ferociously for the ball before the Frenchman's low cross was poked into his own net by Pearson.
And in the dying moments, Willock's low strike beat Bonham at his near post.
QPR's Marti Cifuentes:
"It was a roller coaster of a game and a fantastic win for us. I'm really happy, first of all for the players and for the supporters and because I really wanted to win this game in memory of Terry Venables. The players know all about a legend like him and the impact he had not only at QPR but in English football and at Barcelona. We mentioned that we wanted to go that extra mile to make sure we won the three points for his memory."
"Conceding a goal before half-time is always a bit tougher. I told the guys it was a great challenge for us to show what kind of team we want to be; a losing team with sad faces and complaining or a team with ambition who chases victory. We did that even after they scored their second goal when they had 10 men. Emotionally, that was a big challenge and I'm so glad for them."
Stoke's Alex Neil:
"I thought there were two horrific decisions that changed the complexion of the game. It was as soft a penalty as you're likely to get. The sending-off is also really soft. I thought both decisions were really poor. The problem you've got is that you've got some referees that want to make themselves the centrepiece of the game rather than letting the game take place and just managing it. I said to him that I thought he changed the complexion of the game and that's not the job of a referee.
"What I said to the fourth official during the game was 'I'm not looking for any handouts or favours. I'm just looking for fair decisions'. The amount of bookings dished out in this game was incredible for a game in which I don't think there was a bad tackle. I don't think it was a nasty game by any means. We got eight bookings, which is just absolutely ridiculous for a game where there wasn't a bad tackle. Let's be honest, if both teams had 11 on the pitch then I think we're the better side. We took the lead and I thought we were going to go on and win the game quite comfortably."