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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
17:15 24th March 2012

SUNDERLAND 3, QPR 1

Djibril Cisse saw red, as ten-man QPR went down to a 3-1 defeat against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.


In the 250th league game of Mark Hughes's managerial career, Rangers where a goal down just four minutes before the break, after Nicklas Bendtner headed home James McClean's cross.


The R's task was made all-the-harder when Cisse picked up his second red card in just five appearances for the Hoops - that after a two-footed challenge on Fraizer Campbell on 54 minutes.


The home side duly capitalised on that numerical advantage.


First, the lively McClean struck a Sunderland second thanks to a deflection off Nedum Onuoha, before Stephane Sessegnon tucked away David Vaughan's centre from close range.


Taye Taiwo curled home an excellent free-kick - albeit a scant consolation for Rangers - on 79 minutes.


Hughes made two changes to his Rangers side for the trip to the North East.


Armand Traore was forced to sit out with a hamstring complaint, while Joey Barton dropped to the substitute's bench.


The duo were replaced by Taiwo and Jamie Mackie - scorer of the R's dramatic last-gasp winner versus Liverpool in midweek - respectively.


Paddy Kenny was in goal for the Hoops, behind a back four of Luke Young, Onuoha, stand-in skipper Anton Ferdinand and Taiwo.


Mackie began from the right-hand side of midfield, with Shaun Derry and Samba Diakite in the middle, and Adel Taarabt starting from the left.


Cisse partnered Bobby Zamora up front.


The opening stanza proved to be a tentative one, with neither side giving an inch inside the opening minutes.


The home side carved open their first chance on ten minutes.


McClean's teasing corner from the right looked to be to a tee for a host of queuing Sunderland bodies at the back post, but Young was on hand to clear the danger.


Three minutes later, Sessegnon twisted and turned both Young and Diakite before crossing for Jack Colback, who saw his effort blocked by Taiwo in the box.


But Colback soon went closer for the hosts. A long ball saw Bendtner flick a header on to the Mackems midfielder, before his low drive clipped the left-hand post and went wide.


QPR fashioned their first opportunity in the 16th minute. Diakite found Young down the left, before his cross was headed just over the crossbar by Mackie.


Six minutes later, the R's had another attempt when Zamora played a pass into Cisse on the edge of the box, before his shot deflected comfortably up into the hands of Simon Mignolet.


Moments later, Sessegnon saw an effort whistle just wide of the left-hand post, following good work from Craig Gardner from the right.


Bendtner then diverted McClean's dangerous corner from the right just wide of the post on 25 minutes, before Zamora fired an effort over the bar seconds later.


The deadlock was finally broken in the 41st minute.


The ever-threatening McClean played architect, sending over a delicious cross from the left that was expertly turned home by the head of Bendtner.


Rangers almost responded just a minute later. Flowing football from the R's ended in Taiwo crossing for Cisse from the left, who saw his header deflected wide of the target.


With Diakite already on a booking, Hughes decided to replace the Mali international with Akos Buzsaky seven minutes after the half-time interval.


Sunderland, meanwhile, went exceptionally close to adding a second goal when Gardner rattled the crossbar with a bullet free-kick.


But QPR's chances of clawing their way back into this contest were dealt a major blow in the 54th minute, after Cisse was handed a straight red card.


The French ace went in for a challenge with Campbell and appeared to catch the former Manchester United man with a two-footed challenge.


Referee Mr Jones took little time to react, reaching for a straight red card.


A man to the good, Sunderland began to make their numerical advantage count by creating a number of chances.


On 64 minutes, McClean saw his shot blocked over the target, following Gardner's low centre from the right.


The Mackems wide-man was proving to be a constant thorn in the R's side and went close with another effort just a minute later, dragging his shot just wide of the right-hand post after a neat passage of build-up play from the hosts.


But McClean wouldn't pass at the third time of asking, doubling Sunderland's lead 20 minutes from time.


Onuoha misjudged a ball forward and, when McClean saw an initial effort blocked by Young, his second attempt took a deflection before nestling into the back of the net.


The hosts added a third on 76 minutes. Onuoha was dispossessed in his own half before the ball was eventually played out to Vaughan down the left, whose telling cross was guided home by Sessegnon.


Rangers struck a consolation with 11 minutes left on the clock.


Michael Turner was penalised for a foul on Zamora, before Taiwo stepped up to curl home the subsequent free-kick from just outside the box.


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