QPR v Newcastle United
NEWCASTLE United blew away QPR with a completely-dominant performance at Loftus Road.
Rafa Benitez’s Championship favourites were every bit worth their 6-0 success.
Goals from Jonjo Shelvey (two), Ayoze Perez, Ciaran Clark, Aleksandar Mitrovic and Grant Hanley completed the rout in W12.
Rangers boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink made three changes to his side for the visit of Newcastle, after Saturday’s 1-1 home draw with Blackburn Rovers.
Seb Polter (glute) missed out altogether owing to injury, while Nasser Khayati and Olamide Shodipo both dropped to the bench.
So in came Steven Caulker, Yeni Ngbakoto and Conor Washington.
Meanwhile, recent capture Pawel Wszolek – in the squad for the first time since joining on loan from Hellas Verona at the end of August – was named among the substitutes.
It was an all-action affair inside the first 10 minutes, with drama at both ends of the pitch.
The visitors had a seemingly-legitimate goal ruled out for offside in the eighth minute, after Perez turned home Shelvey’s 25-yard blast. Video replays suggested that the United forward was actually onside.
Looking to take advantage of such luck, Rangers broke when Alex Smithies took a quick free-kick that sent Washington away, who did well to win a corner. And from the resultant set-piece, Caulker nodded just over following Ngbakoto’s delivery.
But fortune turned into a lack of it come the 12th minute, as Newcastle took the lead with the aid of a wicked deflection.
Of course, that didn’t bother Shelvey, who wheeled away in delight when his latest attempt from range ricocheted off Karl Henry – and past Smithies.
Buoyed by their first goal, Newcastle took total control thereafter, as they looked to extend the advantage.
Just three minutes after scoring the opener, Benitez’s charges almost added a second. Smithies produced an outstanding save from Matt Ritchie’s long-range thump.
The R’s were forced into a substitution in the 18th minute.
James Perch left the field with a serious-looking knee injury, after going in for a challenge. So he was replaced by Wszolek, who came on for his Rangers debut.
Newcastle continued their onslaught after that. In the 21st minute, Perez spun and shot just inches wide of the right-hand post.
But the United man wasn’t to be denied on the half-hour mark, as the visitors extended their lead.
An already-busy Smithies stooped low to parry Perez’s initial shot. Though he couldn’t keep out the follow-up attempt, as the striker fired home from six yards.
Rangers huffed and puffed towards the end of the first half, as they looked to get back into the game.
In the 37th minute, Tjaronn Chery drilled low at Matz Sels in the Newcastle goal.
However, United were still dominant – and should have added a third goal two minutes before half-time.
Perez, again teasing QPR’s defence, touched the ball back to Mitrovic on 20 yards, whose effort was deflected wide.
Rangers initially began the second period with a bit more purpose. Chery forced Sels into a low stop in the 47th minute.
But the R’s were three goals behind only a minute later.
It was a simply sensational strike from Shelvey for his second goal of the evening, as the midfielder’s curling attempt from 25 yards flew past Smithies and into the top right-hand corner.
And three became four in the 56th minute, as the visitors stretchered their lead further still from a corner.
Ritchie claimed the assist, as his set-piece from the right was nodded in at close range by an unmarked Clark.
It was so nearly 5-0 come the 59th minute. Smithies produced a fine, one-handed save to deny Mitrovic, whose headed attempt was tipped onto the crossbar by the Rangers custodian.
A minute later, meanwhile, another Mitrovic effort this time forced a smart catch from Smithies.
Soon after that, a rare R’s attack ended with Sels blocking low to deny sub Idrissa Sylla, who shot from just inside the box after controlling skipper Nedum Onuoha’s long ball.
But Newcastle eventually got their fifth in the 63rd minute.
Mitrovic looked offside as he touched in Christian Atsu’s deflected centre. But the goal stood to further compound Rangers’ misery.
United rounded off proceedings 11 minutes from time.
Hanley got in on the act with the sixth and final goal, prodding home at point-blank range when Clark volleyed a corner back into the penalty area.