Austin gives QPR vital victory over Leicester
QPR 3 Leicester City 2
Charlie Austin was QPR’s hero yet again, scoring a 72nd-minute winner to give them a priceless victory over their fellow strugglers and lift his team off the bottom of the table.
They had to come from behind, having suffered an early setback when Esteban Cambiasso opened the scoring.
Wes Morgan’s own goal brought Rangers level and Leroy Fer’s first goal for the club put them ahead before the break.
Jeffrey Schlupp made it 2-2 midway through the second half but Austin responded with his seventh goal of the season and his fifth in as many matches.
Rangers, who were without Bobby Zamora after he suffered a back injury on Friday, deserved their win and have taken a healthy total of seven points from their last three home matches – an encouraging sign as they battle to stay in the Premier League.
Leicester went ahead in the fourth minute when Cambiasso took advantage of hesitation in the home defence and fired low past keeper Rob Green.
That defence, despite being equipped with the pace of Steven Caulker and Nedum Onuoha at centre-back, repeatedly looked vulnerable on the counter-attack before Rangers were gifted an equaliser and were finally able to get control of the game.
The all-important leveller came after Caulker found himself in space on the left.
Niko Kranjcar spotted him and after collecting the Croatian’s pass, Caulker nudged the ball towards Eduardo Vargas in the six-yard area.
And as Morgan slid in to try to clear the danger, the defender failed to connect with his right boot and the ball ricocheted into the net off his left thigh.
Jamie Vardy had a great chance to immediately restore his team’s lead but fired straight at Green from point-blank range.
It proved to be a costly miss for the Foxes, who found themselves behind just before half-time.
Austin’s header from Joey Barton’s right-wing cross was palmed out by keeper Kasper Schmeichel and the loose ball fell to Fer, who found the roof the net.
A cross from a similar position almost led to an equaliser for Leicester early in the second half, the unlucky Vardy heading against the bar.
But City did draw level when Caulker charged down Marc Albrighton’s shot and the ball dropped to Schlupp, who controlled near the edge of the penalty area and sent a left-footed strike beyond Green and into the bottom corner.
Schmeichel produced a fine save to deny Fer, tipping over the Dutchman’s header, but from the resulting corner Rangers regained the lead.
Caulker’s header down caused panic in the Leicester defence and Schmeichel was able to thwart Onuoha but not Austin, who headed home from near the edge of the six-yard box.
QPR (4-4-2): Green; Isla Onuoha, Caulker, Yun (Traore 51); Kranjcar (Hoilett 90), Henry, Barton, Fer; Vargas (Mutch 76), Austin.
Subs not used: Ferdinand, Phillips, Wright-Phillips, McCarthy.
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