QPR stun Leicester who suffer third straight defeat

2 March 2024 0 By Total Football News

Leicester’s lead at the top of the Championship has been cut to just three points with 11 games to go after relegation-threatened QPR claimed a surprise 2-1 victory at the King Power Stadium.

Goals from Ilias Chair and substitute Sinclair Armstrong – who scored with his first touch after coming on just before the hour – earned improving Rangers their third successive victory.

The Foxes quickly pulled a goal back through teenage defender Ben Nelson but they could not find an equaliser as they slumped to a third league defeat in a row, with second-placed Ipswich Town now closing in on them.

The result was a valuable one for QPR, but lifted them just one place up the table and they remain outside the bottom three on goal difference.

Leicester began the game boosted by promotion rivals Leeds drawing at struggling Huddersfield, but they suffered an early blow when midfielder Dennis Praet had to come off injured after 15 minutes, Yunus Akgun taking his place.

Enzo Maresca’s side dominated possession and Harry Winks came close to opening the scoring when he curled a shot just wide of the far post from 20 yards out.

QPR full-back Kenneth Paal then stopped Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall putting Leicester ahead after 26 minutes when he turned away a cross from Yunus for a corner.

But Rangers soaked up the pressure and broke away to take the lead after 38 minutes. Chris Willock advanced on the right-hand side and found Lyndon Dykes whose cross was met by Chair and he squeezed the ball just inside the post.

Armstrong came on as a 57th-minute substitute for QPR and made an immediate impact to give Marti Cifuentes’ side a two-goal lead.

Jimmy Dunne’s header found Sam Field in the penalty area and he stopped the ball before Armstrong followed up to score with a powerful drive.

Leicester pulled a goal back three minutes later to give themselves a lifeline.

Stephy Mavididi rolled a free-kick to Dewsbury-Hall and although his shot was pushed out by Rangers goalkeeper Asmir Begovic, Leicester defender Nelson followed up to clip the ball in.

It was the 19-year-old’s first senior goal and gave his side some hope of forcing their way back into the game.

With 21 minutes left, Abdul Fatawu cut in from the right and curled a shot just over the bar, as he tried a repeat of his winning goal in the midweek FA Cup tie at Bournemouth.

But Leicester struggled to break the Rangers defence down and could not force an equaliser.

Chair had a chance of a third goal for QPR in stoppage time, but he put his shot wide with only Leicester goalkeeper Mads Hermansen to beat.

Leicester’s final chance to level the scores disappeared when Winks had a shot charged down.

The game was reminiscent of Leicester’s previous home game against Middlesbrough when they also went two goals behind and could not recover.

But some Foxes players surrounded the match officials at the final whistle as they claimed a late penalty should have been given in their favour.

The managers

Leicester’s Enzo Maresca:

“It’s a bad feeling. In the last three defeats, we dominated with the chances but the most important thing is to score goals. We lacked quality in the last third.

“I don’t think it was a matter of being nervous, I didn’t have this feeling from the players. With 11 games to go, we need to finish in the best way.

“It’s been long time since we have been at the top and everyone is chasing us, we can’t think about that, we just need to win games.

“When you drop points and the rest win, you see yourself that they are coming, but we need balance at the moment. You cannot be so happy or so sad.

“If you get too nervous it could be dangerous, if you relax, it could be dangerous. You have to be mentally strong because we have a game in three days (at Sunderland).”

QPR’s Marti Cifuentes:

“We performed at a really high level against a team that is extremely good. They are a very good side with a fantastic coach and I’m sure they will go up despite the last three defeats.

“All the credit to the players because they were very well organised for a long time. We were clinical as we had to be.

“I thought Leicester would be more dangerous and angry after the last two defeats.

“It was an important win for us, but I’m not getting carried away with a victory. The reality is the table shows we are still in a big battle. To get out and achieve this great escape, there is still a lot more to be done.”

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