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16:50 9th April 2016


NASSER EL Khayati’s first goal in QPR colours – in the fourth of five added minutes at the end of the second half – won it for Rangers in incredible fashion at Loftus Road.

The Dutchman, a late substitute, cut in from the left flank and curled home a stunning right-footed finish, as Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s men left it late to register victory in W12.

Earlier, Matty Phillips opened the scoring in the first minute of first half stoppage-time – with his eight goal of the season – to put the R’s in front, only for Callum Harriott to level matters on 63 minutes with a well-taken finish.

In truth, the game could’ve gone either way after Harriott’s equaliser, but it was E Khayati who had the final say, with a stunning individual goal.

Hasselbaink made four changes from the side that drew 1-1 at Leeds United on Tuesday night.

Left-back Jack Robinson came in for his Rangers debut – and his first appearance in 13 months following an ACL injury sustained whilst on loan at Huddersfield Town in March 2015.

Karl Henry, Tjaronn Chery and Sebastian Polter were also recalled to the starting XI.

In-form goalkeeper Alex Smithies continued in goal, behind a back four of Robinson, skipper Nedum Onuoha, Grant Hall and James Perch, with the latter returning to his more accustomed right-back role.

In midfield, Junior Hoilett and Phillips occupied the wide positions, with Henry partnering Massimo Luongo in the middle of the park.

Chery, having scored his tenth goal of the season at Elland Road in midweek, returned to play just off Polter in attack.

Charlton, meanwhile, made one change from Tuesday's draw at Ipswich Town, with Igor Vetokele coming in for the injured Johann Berg Gudmundsson.

On a fresh spring afternoon in W12, the R’s were first to threaten, with Phillips’ enticing third minute free-kick just evading both Perch and Polter, who were left unmarked inside the six-yard box.

Rangers were enjoying the better of the opening exchanges, with Luongo – yet to score since his summer switch from Swindon Town – blasting over from the edge of the box on nine minutes.

Charlton grew into the game as the half approached its halfway point, with Callum Harriott forcing Smithies into a fine save, after he let fly from the edge of the box.

At the other end, Phillips and Perch combined, with the latter delivering a peach of a cross across the face of goal, which Polter could only divert the ball wide of the far post.

The Addicks were forced into a change in the 33rd minute, with Yaya Sanogo – who appeared to aggravate his hamstring – replaced by Simon Makienok.

The game was starved of any real quality, so it came as a surprise when QPR opened the scoring on the stroke of half-time.

Shortly after the fourth official indicated for two added minutes to be played, Rangers sprung a counter-attack, with Hoilett finding Phillips in space – for the umpteenth time – on the right flank.

This time, with space afforded to him, the Scotland international cut back inside on his left foot, curling an inviting ball into the box, which evaded the onrushing Hoilett, and somehow crept in at the far post.

The proved to be the final chance of the half, as the hosts headed in a goal to the good at the break.

The woodwork came to Rangers’ rescue at the start of the second half, with Harriott curling a delightful effort towards the far corner, which grazed the crossbar.

Moments after their let-off, Hasselbaink’s side broke at the other end, with Chery stinging the palms of Nick Pope with a fearsome left-footed effort.

The R’s were dealt a blow on 55 minutes, when Perch limped off injured, and was replaced by Academy product, Cole Kpekawa.

That substitution resulted in a defensive reshuffle across the R’s back four, with Onuoha moving to right-back and Kpekawa partnering Hall at centre-half.

Despite the change, Rangers continued to attack at will and when Phillips was played in by Polter, the winger shot straight at Pope when faced one-on-one with the Addicks custodian.

That miss proved to be decisive, as Charlton notched an equaliser on 63 minutes, with Cousins – a threat all afternoon – curling a left-footed shot into the bottom corner to put the visitors on terms.

The game was now swinging from one end to the other at an alarming rate.

Phillips forced Pope to smother from range, while at the other end, Harriott tested Smithies, who saved well at his near post.

Hasselbaink made his second change of the afternoon on 72 minutes, with Ben Gladwin replacing goalscorer Phillips.

The R’s squandered a glorious opportunity to go back in front six minutes later, when Luongo and Chery broke up play to set up Polter, only for the German to skew his effort wide.

Rangers’ final throw of the dice saw El Khayati replace the hardworking Hoilett five minutes from time, but it was the visitors who almost won it late on, when Vetokele broke free, only to be thwarted by an outstanding Smithies save.

As it was, it was Rangers who clinched maximum points on 93 minutes – and what a goal it was too!

El Khayati received possession on the left wing, cut back inside, before curling an unstoppable curling shot high into the roof of the net.

It was a goal fit to grace any stadium in the land, as the R’s faithful headed home happy.
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