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15:30 4th November 2012


QPR came from a goal behind to draw 1-1 with Reading at Loftus Road.

Former Rangers defender Kaspars Gorkss handed the Royals a first-half lead after the home defence failed to clear a corner, but Mark Hughes’ men battled back to earn a point.

Djibril Cisse’s equaliser midway through the second period was just reward for an improved display after the break, as the French international striker finished smartly inside the box.

The R’s could have secured maximum points late on - particularly when Adel Taarabt missed a gilt-edged chance - but a sublime performance from visiting goalkeeper Alex McCarthy ensured the Royals returned to Berkshire with a share of the spoils.

Hughes made three changes to the side narrowly beaten last weekend at Arsenal, one enforced by Stephane Mbia’s dismissal at the Emirates Stadium.  Anton Ferdinand took the Cameroonian’s place in the back four.  

Jamie Mackie was preferred to Shaun Wright-Phillips on the wing, while in attack Cisse came in for Bobby Zamora.

The visitors – who also came unstuck to the Gunners in their last outing – made two changes from their breathtaking midweek 7-5 Capital One Cup defeat.

It was the Royals who made the brighter opening inside the opening 10 minutes as first Jobi McAnuff’s flashing effort from the by-line was cleared away from danger by Armand Traore, before Noel Hunt saw his shot deflect narrowly wide.

It didn’t take long for Hughes’ men to respond, though, as first Cisse exploited space in behind the Royals midfield before firing over, while Junior Hoilett’s effort from a similar position on the edge of the area flashed past McCarthy’s near post.

At the other end set-pieces were causing the home defence problems and on 16 minutes the deadlock was broken when the R’s failed to clear McAnuff’s corner. 

Sean Morrison’s looping header at the far post rebounded down off the crossbar but Gorkss reacted quickest to the loose ball, volleying left-footed past the flailing arms of Julio Cesar.

Rangers reacted well to conceding and came close to equalising on 20 minutes. Samba Diakite’s driving run and pullback carved out a chance for Cisse, but the Frenchman dragged the chance wide from six yards.

Meanwhile, Taarabt – who was presented with the AirAsia Player of the Month for October prior to kick-off – was once again proving the hosts’ main orchestrator going forward. The Moroccan twice in quick succession tried his luck from distance but blasted over with his first, while McCarthy was equal to his effort from similar range on the half-hour mark.

The home side continued to improve as the first half wore on and only the woodwork prevented Esteban Granero levelling the scores six minutes before the interval. 

The Spaniard’s free-kick from 18 yards looked destined for the net but a combination of McCarthy’s fingertips and the crossbar ensured the visitors maintained the advantage heading into half-time. 

The Royals’ aerial threat was all-too evident within the first 10 minutes of the re-start but Rangers were fortunate neither Morrison or Mikele Leigertwood could direct their headers on target.

And the R’s made their opponents pay moments later as parity was restored on 66 minutes. Jose Bosingwa’s in-swinging cross from the right was taken down by Cisse, who showed a neat touch before swivelling to tuck the ball beyond the onrushing McCarthy.

The equaliser breathed fresh life around Loftus Road, particularly for the hosts who wasted little time in pushing for a second goal. McCarthy was up to task though, smartly saving from another thunderous Taarabt strike, flinging himself away to his right to beat the ball away to safety.

Hughes made his first substitution of the afternoon with 10 minutes remaining as both sides attacked in numbers in search of a winner, replacing Mackie with Zamora.

Rangers almost profited immediately after Cisse’s through-ball set Taarabt clear through on goal but once again McCarthy came to Reading’s rescue. 

After calmly evading Chris Gunter’s challenge, a goal seemed a formality but the Royals custodian yet again stood firm to tip the effort away for a corner to the disbelief of Taarabt and the home faithful.

Nedum Onuoha was next off the bench for QPR as Traore departed with eight minutes remaining but it was the visitors who found themselves defending deep as five minutes of injury time approached.

The R’s continued to press for all three points but Cisse’s cross for substitute Zamora was cut out by McCarthy, who proved a formidable last line of defence from the first minute to the last. 

Reading’s backline held strong, though, and despite a stirring finish from Rangers, who almost stole victory through Cisse’s speculative long-range try with the last kick of the game, Hughes’ side remain without a league win this season.
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