Watford heap more misery on Cifuentes’ lowly QPR

14 January 2024 0 By Total Football News

Jake Livermore scored twice from outside of the area as Watford came from under the cosh to dash QPR’s hopes of easing their relegation fears with a 2-1 win at Loftus Road.

Marti Cifuentes’ men stormed out of the blocks for the second half – after a goalless first – with Hornets goalkeeper Ben Hamer called into action to twice prevent Sinclair Armstrong from breaking the deadlock.

Watford's Jake Livermore celebrates scoring their second goal of the game

Image: Watford’s Jake Livermore celebrates scoring their second goal of the game

However, Livermore curled a beauty past Asmir Begovic to give the visitors the lead very much against the run of play on the hour mark and then hammered home a second from outside the box five minutes later to take the game away from QPR.

Lyndon Dykes did tap home a Paul Smyth cross to halve the deficit with 13 minutes to play, but Cifuentes’ side could not force an equaliser, despite their bold efforts, to avoid a fifth defeat in six league games.

They remain 23rd, five points from safety, with Watford climbing to eighth, just a point outside the top six.

How the misery continued for lowly QPR

It had been over a month since QPR had recorded their last Championship win and, with the relegation battle starting to become more competitive, they clearly wanted to hit Watford with an early goal to set the tempo for the rest of the game.

Chris Willock and Armstrong went close early on while the home fans – so starved of positivity – were mocked for their cheers when Ilias Chair’s free-kick rippled the roof of the net – they thought it had hit the top corner.

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Jake Livermore scored two goals in five minutes that were both from outside the area against QPR

Rangers were well-organised and it took 27 minutes for Watford to register their first shot, when Matheus Martins curled wide, but – given their perilous position – they needed a goal of their own. Plaudits alone would simply not do.

Ben Hamer kept out a low drive from Armstrong just before the break and produced a strong left hand to keep out his effort no more than 15 seconds after the restart, with the hosts pressing aggressively in an attempt to seize control.

But on the hour mark, they were knocked back. Livermore received the ball in space 20 yards out and curled a sumptuous effort past Begovic to open the scoring with the Hornets’ first shot on target in the game.

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Jake Livermore felt he’d been due some goals after scoring two for Watford in their 2-1 win over QPR and said he’d been getting a bit of stick from his teammates for not chipping in more.

And he did it again within five minutes, taking a touch after a cross from the left was cleared into his path and hammering into the net with Begovic rooted to the spot.

Rangers did find a way back with 13 minutes to play, when Dykes was left with a simple finish after substitute Paul Smyth had hung up the ball to the far post and it could have been 2-2 deep into stoppage-time had Hamer not produced the pick of his saves to push Jimmy Dunne’s shot away to allow Valerien Ismael’s men to close out the win.

Cifuentes: We need to take our chances; the next two games are so important

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Marti Cifuentes felt that his QPR side played well in their 2-1 defeat Watford but said they need to score the chances they keep creating.

QPR’s Marti Cifuentes:

“It’s an extremely disappointing result. We created a lot of chances and didn’t concede many, but football is about achieving, not about deserving. All I can say is credit to the guys that had a good performance, but we need to make sure we score the chances.

“I definitely think the reaction in the last 20 minutes, after going down 2-0, we showed we are not a team that’s going to give up easily, so we chased not only the draw, but the victory as well and I think we got the chances to score a couple more goals.

“There is quality in the players, but of course we need to improve areas, the club knows about that. In that sense, we need to make a last effort in January altogether, as a club, to improve our situation to face the last part of the season in a good way.

“We need those victories. The next two games will be so important for us and we need to make sure we can take the lead and score one or two goals because then we are very difficult to beat.”

Ismael: It was a strong away performance from us

Watford’s Valerien Ismael:

“In the first half, we were under control and we played well, though maybe we didn’t have the real big chance to score. We made too many mistakes in the first half, so QPR built some momentum; in the second half, we needed to shoot more to give us the chance to score.

“We were maybe lucky with the first chance of the second half, with the big save from Ben Hamer, but after all, over the 90 minutes, it was a strong away performance. It’s a tough place to come and we managed the challenge.

“We are now in the second half of the season, so it’s not about the quality because all the teams there [in play-off contention] have got the quality. It’s all about consistency and how you pick up the points. If you can build momentum, if you can start to have a run then this is how you get into the play-offs.”

What’s next?

Both teams are back in action at 3pm on Saturday January 20.

QPR host Millwall at Loftus Road, while Watford travel to Ashton Gate to take on Bristol City.

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