IT WAS a tale of two penalties at Carrow Road, as Rangers battled back to share the spoils with Championship leaders Norwich City.
After unsurprisingly soaking up a whole host of home pressure, a much-contested penalty for Dom Ball’s coming-together with Todd Cantwell subsequently saw Teemu Pukki strike for the Canaries on 75 minutes.
The R’s weren’t to be beaten, though, and took a point following a penalty of their own six minutes from the end of normal time.
Soon after getting the better of Grant Hanley in the box, Bright Osayi-Samuel stepped up to send the ball into the top right-hand corner of the net.
Following Saturday’s 2-0 home reverse at the hands of Swansea City, QPR boss Mark Warburton made one change to his starting XI for the trip to East Anglia – sticking with the same 5-3-2 formation deployed against the Swans.
Osayi-Samuel came in for the R’s, with Macaulay Bonne dropping down to the bench.
Rangers lined up as: Seny Dieng; Todd Kane, Rob Dickie, Geoff Cameron, Yoann Barbet, Niko Hamalainen; Dom Ball, Tom Carroll, Ilias Chair; Lyndon Dykes, Osayi-Samuel.
Hosts Norwich – who included former Hoops loanee Jordan Hugill among their substitutes – went into this one following defeat to Watford on Boxing Day, but having won their previous five fixtures before that and sitting top of the league table.
With the R’s winless in eight, it’s fair to say that the task at hand looked a mightily tough one.
The home team certainly saw a lot of the ball early on, as they did for much of the first period.
Dieng repelled Emi Buendia’s stinging box effort in the sixth minute, before separate Mario Vrancic attempts were also kept out on minutes 12 and 13.
First, the Norwich midfielder’s attempted lob was headed off the goal-line by Dickie, then another Vrancic shot – this time a tame one – was easily collected by Dieng.
Hamalainen was first to threaten for the R’s, lashing over on 14 minutes, and the visitors enjoyed a little more possession after that.
But it was Daniel Farke’s Canaries who continued to offer more in an attacking sense.
In the 25th minute, following the move of the match, Vrancic shot wide after linking well with Max Aarons.
Then, after Carroll slid wide for the R’s at the near post a minute later, Barbet produced a crucial intervention in the 33rd to keep out Buendia as he bore down on goal.
In the 35th minute, meanwhile, Hanley headed a decent opportunity over following a right-flank Norwich corner.
However, for all of the home side’s possession, Rangers enjoyed a strong finish to the closing period.
Chair probably should have done better when skipping clear of the Norwich defence in the 41st minute, instead allowing Christoph Zimmerman enough time to recover and block the former’s subsequent effort.
Then, on the stroke of half-time, Dykes headed wide from Hamalainen’s cross.
The opening half would finish goalless, though.
Into the closing period, and Norwich were dealt a blow when goalkeeper Michael McGovern was forced off at half-time. Daniel Barden – making his league debut – deputised.
The hosts were back on the attack six minutes into the half. Pukki, under pressure from Barbet, shot low at Dieng.
A minute later, Hanley headed a Norwich corner marginally past the upright. Then Dieng saved strongly from Pukki in the 54th minute.
Rangers had started sluggishly and were thankful for the offside flag when Cantwell tapped home Pukki’s centre in the same minute.
On 55 minutes, meanwhile, Dieng was called into action once more to keep out a Pukki drive.
When the hour mark arrived, the R’s were having to hang on amid a wave of home pressure.
In the 67th minute, Dickie cleared off the line from Jacob Sorensen’s low attempt.
A double Hoops change followed, as the visitors looked to offer more from an attacking perspective. Chair and Dykes were placed by Albert Adomah and Bonne.
However, they could do little to prevent the R’s from conceding the opening goal 15 minutes from time.
It arrived in highly controversial circumstances, as Cantwell went down under challenge from Ball in the box. There looked to be little contact, but the referee pointed to the spot and Pukki did the rest from 12 yards.
Rangers could have folded after conceding in such a manner, but they didn’t and earned a point thanks to a penalty of their own.
After Osayi-Samuel was felled by Hanley in the area, it was the former who dusted himself down to restore parity – converting confidently into the top right-hand corner.
In the end, the R’s – and Osayi-Samuel – spurned a glorious chance to nick all three points in the 93rd minute.
Bright met Adomah’s right-wing delivery, but couldn’t convert from all of a couple of yards out - instead scooping over the crossbar.