Middlesbrough 1 QPR 3
Bobby Zamora and Ravel Morrison struck stoppage-time goals to earn a much-changed QPR a dramatic victory at the Riverside Stadium.
George Friend’s opener for Middlesbrough was cancelled out by Yossi Benayoun on the stroke of half-time, the Israeli’s first goal for the club.
The game appeared to be fizzling out towards a draw, which would have seen Rangers lose further ground in the automatic promotion race.
But in the fourth minute of injury time, a fortunate bobble saw the ball elude Boro’ keeper Dimi Konstantopoulos and Zamora was on hand to put it into an empty net.
A minute later, Morrison struck a left-footed low drive beyond Konstantopoulos to wrap up the points.
Second-placed Burnley’s win at Charlton keeps them 10 points ahead of QPR but this victory ensures there is a similar gap to those chasing the play-off spots.
Harry Redknapp showed his displeasure with the dire display at Sheffield Wednesday in midweek by making six changes.
The fit-again Rob Green replaced Brian Murphy in goal, Yun Suk-Young came into the back four for the suspended Richard Dunne and Tom Carroll was called into the side for the ill Karl Henry.
Zamora, Gary O’Neil and Junior Hoilett were benched, with Benayoun, Nico Krancjar and Will Keane starting.
QPR began on the front foot with Konstantopoulos making an early double save to deny Joey Barton and Carroll.
But Middlesbrough began to exert control of midfield and shortly after Jacob Butterfield had produced a good save from Green, the home side took the lead.
Friend cut in from the left and after appeals for handball had fallen on deaf ears, the full-back drilled in a shot which beat Green.
A disjointed QPR struggled at times with Boro’s pace down the flanks, the prominent Friend testing Green again with a low drive.
But they found their feet late in the first half and Konstantopoulos did well to tip Morrison’s effort over the bar.
They found the equaliser in first half injury-time as Kranjcar’s shot deflected into the path of Benayoun, who ignored vain appeals for offside to slam the ball into the roof of the net.
There were few clear-cut chances in the second half but Green fielded efforts from distance from Nathaniel Chalobah and Albert Adomah.
The game exploded into life in added-on time, however, and before QPR did snatch victory, either side could have won it.
Morrison dragged a shot wide while at the other end Friend’s half-volley fizzed past the post.
Just as it looked as though Rangers would be held to a draw, a passback was missed by Konstantopoulos to let Zamora in and Morrison applied the coup de grace.
QPR (4-4-1-1): Green; Hughes, Onuoha, Hill, Yun; Kranjcar (Hoilett 60), Barton, Carroll, Benayoun (O’Neil 76); Morrison; Keane (Zamora 63).
Subs not used: Murphy, Simpson, Donaldson, Petrasso.