QPR 1-0 Chelsea – Valiant nine-man Blues come up short in West London derby
Loftus Road, London
Helguson 10 (pen)
Bosingwa sent off 33, Drogba sent off 41
Nine-man Chelsea were edged out by a dogged QPR at Loftus Road as they suffered defeat in their first league meeting in 15 years. First-half dismissals for Didier Drogba and Jose Bosingwa severely depleted the visitors as they lost ground in the title race. The only goal of the game came on ten minutes when Heidar Helguson converted a penalty he earned himself.
There was a hostile atmosphere from the start at Loftus Road but Warnock and even the most optimistic of R’s fans couldn’t have even dreamt about the half they were set to witness. After the Blues had initially threatened through an early Sturridge shot the hosts began to apply pressure and were awarded a penalty inside ten minutes when David Luiz inexplicably pushed Helguson in the back when the Icelandic striker was facing away from goal.
A heated discussion between Helguson and Taarabt ensued about who should take the spot-kick but it was the former that got his way and he justified his confidence when he placed the spot kick beyond the despairing dive of Petr Cech who got a strong hand to it.
This was to prove the first of three key decisions from Chris Foy as he soon reduced the visitors to ten men. Shaun Wright-Phillips hared in on goal from the left hand side and following some over-zealous shirt pulling from Bosingwa Foy decided he had seen enough and produced the red card. It looked a case of six of one, half a dozen of another between the two but despite some particularly vociferous protesting from Terry the referee’s mind was made up and the Portugese defender had to go. Villas-Boas reacted instantly by sacrificing Sturridge for Branislav Ivanovic as they looked to try and contain what was a rampant R’s onslaught.
Chelsea began to adapt to their lack of personnel but with half-time approaching Drogba gave Foy the easiest decision he’ll make all season as he recklessly dived in off the ground at Taarabt. It was a half to forget for the former champions who made another change deep into stoppage time when Nicolas Anelka replaced Mata.
They came out galvanized after the restart and nearly grabbed an unlikely leveller within five minutes as Frank Lampard saw his header deflected just wide of Paddy Kenny’s upright. The hosts somehow found themselves on the back foot throughout and Luke Young, who was enjoying some unfamiliar freedom further up the pitch, nearly doubled their tally when he dragged wide from around ten yards out in what was a rare opportunity for Warnock’s men.
Although there were no further dismissals the half was littered with cards for a frustrated Chelsea side that no doubt felt victimised by the referee. Their anger was furthered when Luiz was hauled to the floor by Heidar Helguson in the area following a corner but Foy wasn’t to be moved as he waved play on.
It was staggering that the R’s barely made an impression in the opposition half despite their two men advantage with substitute Anelka the next to threaten with a header straight at Kenny. However Luiz’s audacious bicycle kick was the last real chance as the final whistle sounded and afforded a nervy QPR the chance to finally punch their delight into the West London sky.
QPR (4-4-1-1): Kenny; Young, Hall, Ferdinand, Hill; Derry (Mackie 81), Faurlin, Barton, Wright-Phillips; Taarabt (Smith 61); Helguson
Chelsea (4-3-3): Cech; Bosingwa, Luiz, Terry, Cole; Meireles (Malouda 72), Mikel, Lampard; Mata (Anelka 45+2), Drogba, Sturridge (Ivanovic 36)
Did you know... Before today you have go back to the 4th April for the last time QPR won at Loftus Road when they ran out 3-0 winners against Sheffield United, a team now two divisions below them.