Middlesbrough 3 QPR 2
Injury-hit QPR lost at the Riverside Stadium after twice being ahead.
Recent signing David Wheeler scored in the second minute of his full debut – the first goal conceded by Middlesbrough at home in the Championship this season.
On-loan Chelsea youngster Lewis Baker equalised and Jamie Mackie put Rangers back in front before goals from Ashley Fletcher and Britt Assombalonga swung the game in Boro’s favour.
Rangers battled until the end and almost grabbed an 88th-minute equaliser when Pawel Wszolek fired against the post.
They made the perfect start, going ahead when the loose ball fell to Wheeler after Luke Freeman’s scuffed shot and the winger belted home from six yards out.
Wheeler then fired over following Jack Robinson’s long throw-in as Rangers made an excellent start despite their injury problems.
With skipper Nedum Onuoha having joined Rangers’ list of injured defenders, midfielder Josh Scowen and striker Conor Washington were also both ruled out through injury.
Ian Holloway’s side were undone nine minutes before the interval when Marvin Johnson opened up their defence with a clever reverse pass to Baker, who slotted past Alex Smithies.
Boss Holloway made a double substitution at the interval, replacing Kazenga LuaLua, who seemed to suffer a twisted ankle during the first half, and Matt Smith with Wszolek and Mackie.
And Mackie netted five minutes into the second half, chasing down keeper Darren Randolph’s clearance and scoring into an empty net.
However, 10 minutes later Rangers were behind.
Fletcher levelled with a glancing header from Cyrus Christie’s cross, and Johnson then crossed for Assombalonga head in.
QPR: Smithies, Furlong, Baptiste, Robinson, Wheeler (Sylla 68), Luongo, Manning, Freeman, Bidwell, LuaLua (Wszolek 45), Smith (Mackie 45).
Subs not used: Lumley, Borysiuk, Osayi-Samuel, Ngbakoto.