TWO late goals saw QPR secure an impressive draw with Champions League qualifiers Hoffenheim in their latest pre-season friendly in Germany on Saturday.
Steve McClaren’s side trailed 2-0 to two David Otto strikes early in either half but Rangers came from behind to stun their Bundesliga opposition.
Summer signing Toni Leistner marked his return to his homeland by pulling a goal back, before Ryan Manning struck the equaliser two minutes from time.
It was our German hosts who began brightest at the Hugo Koch Stadion – and took less than three minutes to open the scoring. Matt Ingram kept out Nadiem Amiri, but could do nothing to prevent Otto tucking away the rebound.
Despite the early pressure, Rangers came within a whisker of equaliser from their first attack. After Luke Freeman and Jake Bidwell combined down the left, the latter’s cross was headed inches wide by Matt Smith.
Rangers had Ingram to thank for keeping the score at 1-0 soon after, though. Nico Schulz teed up Bittencourt but this time he was denied by the R’s goalkeeper, who made a smart save at his near post.
Bittencourt spurned two even better chances before the break. Joshua Brenet’s cross from the right picked out the Hoffenheim forward but he headed over before missing the target again when one-on-one with Ingram.
Respite was brief, though, as Hoffenheim doubled their lead 12 minutes after the interval. A cross to the far post saw Otto sweep home his second acrobatically.
A torrential downpour around the hour-mark seemed to work to the R’s favour, as Rangers began to pour forward in numbers.
Ebere Eze was the main creator – freeing substitute Bright Osayi-Samuel in the box, but his shot was blocked by Oliver Baumann in the home goal.
Rangers continued to push, though, and got their rewards with 10 minutes remaining. Freeman stood up an inviting free-kick from which Leistner guided a diving header into the far corner.
Buoyed by the goal, the R’s went in search of a second – and duly found the equaliser two minutes from time. Leistner caused problems from another set-piece which eventually dropped kindly for Manning to thunder into the roof of the net, much to his and the soaking travelling R’s faithful’s delight.
The late comeback sees McClaren’s side remain unbeaten in pre-season ahead of Sunday’s behind-closed-doors outing with Hoffenheim.
QPR: Ingram, Kakay, Leistner, Lynch, Bidwell, Scowen, Luongo (Manning 46), Cousins (Osayi-Samuel 70), Eze, Smith (Washington 46), Freeman.
Goals: Leistner 80, Manning 88.