RANGERS’ return from the international break ended in defeat, following a 1-0 loss to Newcastle United on Tyneside.
The hosts claimed all three points late on in proceedings at St. James’ Park, Magpies skipper Moussa Sissoko striking in the 78th minute following a slick passing move.
The Hoops are now two points from Premier League safety.
QPR manager Harry Redknapp made two changes to his side for the trip to the North East.
Eduardo Vargas missed out owing to the birth of his baby girl yesterday (Friday), while Mauricio Isla, who dropped to the substitutes’ bench, was rested after his recent international exploits with Chile alongside compatriot Vargas.
The contest began with a number of fierce challenges being made.
Rangers had a scare in the fifth minute when Rob Green’s clearance was chased down by Jack Colback before smashing against the midfielder, though the ball – much to the relief of Green – bounced just wide of the right-hand post.
Five minutes later, Newcastle’s Remy Cabella fired low at Green.
Visitors Rangers enjoyed their first opportunity of the afternoon soon after. Charlie Austin muscled Massadio Haidara off the ball before shooting wide of Tim Krul’s goal.
Play soon switched back to the other end. A clever-worked corner fell to Ryan Taylor on the edge of the box who, after a touch, fired a rasping shot at Green to tip over.
A Yun Suk-Young mistake in the 22nd minute led to Taylor having a second bite of the cherry. However, Green came to the rescue once again, diving low to his left to hold on to Taylor’s drive.
The home side were now enjoying the lion’s share of the possession, laying siege to the R’s goal.
A now-rare visiting attack ended with Leroy Fer falling under challenge in the box. However, referee Chris Foy waved away claims.
Rangers managed to stem the tide thereafter. Austin shot straight at Krul before half-time, while Daryl Janmaat blasted wide prior to the whistle sounding.
Newcastle started the second period well though it was QPR who were first to test their opposing goalkeeper, Austin dragging low at Krul following Joey Barton’s lofted pass.
Redknapp opted for a change in the 59th minute, Sandro – who looked to be struggling with an injury – was replaced by Niko Kranjcar.
Bobby Zamora, meanwhile, sent a looping header over Krul’s bar in the 66th minute following a Karl Henry cross.
Midfielder Kranjcar’s arrival appeared to give Rangers a little bit more of a threat.
But it was Green next tested. Yoan Gouffran broke away from Suk-Young before crossing to Papiss Cisse, whose effort was collected by the Hoops shot-stopper at the second attempt.
Green’s goal was finally breached in the 78th minute. The impressive Sissoko started and ended a lovely move, curling home past the goalkeeper from inside the box after a quick interchange of passes.
Rangers responded by replacing Henry with Junior Hoilett four minutes later.
Hoilett found himself in space in the penalty area three minutes from time, though shot handsomely wide.
Five minutes of added time would eventually go up on the board, though Redknapp’s men were ultimately unable to respond.