QPR 1 Sunderland 0
Ebere Eze marked his first league start for QPR by netting the winner at Loftus Road, where Sunderland goalkeeper Jason Steele was sent off.
Teenage forward Eze scored after 62 minutes with a nicely-taken goal which also involved a touch of good fortune.
The 19-year-old turned away from Lee Cattermole and passed to Matt Smith, whose mis-control inadvertently resulted in him nudging the ball back into the path of Eze, who slotted past stand-in keeper Lee Camp.
Sunderland, bottom of the Championship table, have now not won in nine matches and have won just one of their last 12.
The match swung away from them after Steele was sent off four minutes into the second half following an horrendous error.
Attempting to prevent Darnell Furlong’s punt forward reaching Paul Smyth, Steele raced from his line and misjudged the bounce of the ball.
Stranded five yards outside his penalty area, Steele reached over his head and used his hand to divert the ball away from Smyth, denying the Rangers youngster what would have been a simple tap in.
Referee Rob Jones duly produced the red card, prompting Sunderland boss Chris Coleman to send former QPR man Camp on in place of forward Joel Asoro.
Josh Scowen clipped the resulting free-kick over the bar – and the 10 men of Sunderland then almost went in front.
Joel Lynch, on as a half-time substitute, cleared Ashley Fletcher’s goal-bound header from Adam Matthews’ left-wing cross – although he almost headed into his own net in the process.
Rangers responded strongly to that scare, with Camp saving a shot from Smyth and Jake Bidwell crossing for Smith to head wide before Eze eventually broke the deadlock.
Target man Smith missed a great chance to double Rangers’ lead, shooting straight at Camp after being put through by Luke Freeman.
Camp then saved Furlong’s header from Freeman’s left-wing corner and pushed away a curling effort from substitute Bright Osayi-Samuel.
And Smith had a late goal disallowed for offside when he nodded in from a yard out after Camp had failed to gather Freeman’s corner.
While Sunderland appear destined for League One, QPR’s win – their first in four matches – moved them 13 points clear of the relegation zone.
QPR: Smithies, Furlong, Onuoha, Robinson (Lynch 45), Bidwell, Scowen, Luongo, Freeman, Eze (Manning 89), Smyth (Osayi-Samuel 72), Smith.
Subs not used: Ingram, Lynch, Cousins, Washington.