FRANKIE Sutherland’s well-taken goal was the undoubted highlight, as Rangers succumbed to a narrow 2-1 defeat to Udinese in Austria.
Trailing 2-0, Sutherland gave the R’s hope with a sublime finish on 68 minutes, but the Serie A side held on to clinch victory.
Dusan Basta opened the scoring on 48 minutes, before Edinaldo Pereyra Gomer doubled the Italians advantage.
Sutherland pulled a fine goal back for the R’s with a sweet left-footed finish, but despite finishing in the ascendancy, an equaliser proved to be beyond them.
The game was nine minutes old when the R’s created their first opportunity of note.
Yun Suk-Young’s throw-in was deftly touched off by Andy Johnson into the path of Bobby Zamora, only for his shot to fly high and wide.
Ten minutes before the break, Rangers went close to breaking the deadlock with their best passage of play in the half.
Zamora and Ji-Sung Park exchanged passes, but the former was denied by a fine last-ditch tackle.
The pair combined again five minutes later and this time it was Park who let fly from the edge of the box, bringing the best out of Ivan Kelava in the Udinese goal.
At the other end, former Watford loanee Matej Vydra just failed to connect with a volley under pressure from Clint Hill.
Rangers made two changes at the break, with Zamora and Johnson making way for Mo Shariff and Shaun Wright-Phillips.
The changes failed to have the desired impact and it was Udinese who opened the scoring three minutes into the second half.
There appeared to be very little on when the ball landed at the feet of Basta 30 yards from goal, but what followed was a strike of pure class, leaving Rob Green with absolutely no chance.
Play soon switched to the other end, with Shariff – having nutmegged his marker – thrashing a long-range strike over.
The Italians went close to doubling their lead on 55 minutes, but Roberto Pereyra fluffed his lines from eight yards out.
Udinese were well on top now and Maicosuel De Matos struck the base of the post two minutes later.
The second goal their improved display deserved followed on the hour – Gomer meeting De Matos’ free-kick and glancing the ball past Green from six-yards.
Rangers didn’t lie down though and three minutes after entering the fray from the bench, Sutherland halved the deficit.
It was an expert finish from the Republic of Ireland youngster, leaving two Udinese defenders trailing in his wake before firing the ball into the far corner of the net with a superb left-footed strike.
Buoyed by the goal, Rangers continued to ask questions in the remaining 22 minutes, but despite a couple of half-chances, a leveller wasn’t forthcoming.
QPR: Green, Simpson (Harriman 70), Hill (Ehmer 70), Onuoha, Suk-Young, Park (Mbia 61), Faurlin (Granero 61), Jenas (Derry 61), Hoilett (Sutherland 65), Johnson (Shariff 46), Zamora (Wright-Phillips 46).
Udinese: Kelava, Heurtaux, Da Silva, Vydra, Larangeira, Lazzari, Marques, Basta, Pereyra, Pinzi, Domizzi.
Subs (all used): Pawlowski, Pasquale, Gomer, Widmer, Coda, Ranegie, Badu, Zielinski, De Matos, Scuffet.