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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
17:00 3rd August 2013
By  @OfficialQPR

QPR 2, SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY 1

QPR kicked off the new Championship season with victory following a 2-1 success over Sheffield Wednesday at Loftus Road.

The Owls took the lead against the run of play in the first half through Atdhe Nuhiu, but quick-fire goals from Nedum Onuoha and Andy Johnson just before half-time were enough to hand Rangers the win.

Charlie Austin – who joined from Burnley on Thursday afternoon – also made his R’s debut after coming on as a second-half substitute for Bobby Zamora.

Rangers enjoyed the better of the possession inside the opening five or so minutes – even though there were little in the way of clear-cut chances.

Junior Hoilett fashioned the first attempt on goal in the sixth minute, driving at the Wednesday defence before firing just over from 25 yards.

The R’s went even closer a minute later when Johnson saw a shot deflected inches past the foot of the left-hand post, while the former Fulham man also forced a fine reaction save from Chris Kirkland moments later.

Danny Simpson’s cross was nodded down by Joey Barton into the path of the striker, though Kirkland stood firm to beat away Johnson’s 12-yard blast.

Nuhiu dragged a shot past the post for Wednesday in the 13th minute, but Rangers were still firmly on top.

The visitors opened the scoring with their first attempt on target five minutes later.

Nuhiu put the Owls ahead, letting a throw-in roll across his body before firing past an unsighted Rob Green from 18 yards.

The goal appeared to settle Wednesday, who enjoyed much more possession after taking the lead.

QPR missed a golden opportunity to level in the 28th minute. Barton’s cross from the right was to a tee for Hoilett, who – albeit on the stretch – looped an effort over the bar from six yards with the goal gaping.

Former England ‘keeper Kirkland was called into action again in the 34th minute, denying Zamora from point-blank range after Johnson headed on a Simpson centre.

Parity was restored just before the half-time break.

Barton played a short corner to Hoilett and when the R’s winger’s cross-come-shot fell to Onuoha, he had the simple task of tapping home from all of three yards.

Rangers raced into the lead in the 42nd minute – despite Kirkland’s best attempts to deny the home side a second goal.

The Wednesday ‘keeper pulled off a fine save to thwart Barton from close range, but when the ball deflected into the path of Johnson on 12 yards, he slotted home to put the Hoops ahead.

Kirkland was enjoying a busy afternoon and it was that man again who denied QPR with a stunning stop just three minutes after half-time.

Barton’s outstanding cross-field ball found Hoilett on the left and when the midfielder cut into the area – riding a succession of challenges in the process – his subsequent shot was pushed away by the ‘keeper.

Wednesday missed a guilt-edged chance to equalise soon after.

Jermaine Johnson broke free of Armand Traore before freeing Michail Antonio in the box, who somehow fired over from 10 yards with just Green to beat.

The Owls – whose Antonio dragged an effort wide on the hour mark – enjoyed a better start to the second half, though the contest was relatively even come the 60th minute.

New signing Austin was given a rousing reception when he was brought on in the 68th minute to make his R’s debut, replacing Bobby Zamora.

Despite Austin’s arrival, it was Wednesday who almost levelled in the 72nd minute when substitute Jacques Maghoma’s low drive smashed back off the foot of the post.

Austin’s first chance in a Rangers shirt came in the 75th minute, though his header from a Simpson cross wasn’t strong enough to test Kirkland.

Hoilett had a chance to wrap things up in the 85th minute but couldn’t find a way past the excellent Kirkland, who pulled off a superb block.  Austin also headed over late on.

Though it didn’t matter, as Rangers held on to secure all three points.
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