Feb 2 2013 By Paul Warburton
QPR 0-0 Norwich City
QPR gave debuts to all three new players – but scored nothing for the second match running.
The defence was as rock solid as you would expect with £12milion Chris Samba, aka the rock of Gibraltar on legs, at the heart of things – although great saves from Julio Cesar, and one brilliant right hand to deny Wes Hoolahan clawed Rangers a point.
However, Adel Taarabt’s second-half penalty miss may come back to haunt the mercurial midfielder.
It was the first time in nine Premier League encounters between the two clubs Rangers have failed to score – but that’s the way of things right now for a team in deep trouble.
They started brightly, and Tarrabt (pic) rode two challenges to make space and fire just right of the far post on 10 minutes.
But even better, he sidestepped three more a couple of minutes later only to see Jamie Mackie screw his effort wide from an angle.
Robert Snodgrass was then left unmarked in the box, but fortunately for Rangers, he tamely headed Wes Hoolahan cross straight in the arms of the grateful Cesar.
The dangerous Taarabt provided an inswing free kick straight after the restart that missed both the heads of Samba and Stephane M’Bia by the sweat on their brow.
Hoolahan was head in hands after he saw Cesar somehow get a right hand to his flick from four yards that kept the scores level.
That save from the Brazilian was as good as anything in the Premier League this season and underlined the importance to the scoreline.
However, in the anything-you-can-do vein, Mark Bunn first gave away a penalty – and then saved it.
The Canaries keeper caught Mackie as he latched on to a wayward ball in the box, but then was down smartly to his left to deny Taarabt’s placed effort from the spot.
Cesar made it 3-1 on decent saves when he pushed away Bradley Johnson’s left foot drive from distance straight after and then Snodgrass’s left foot from distance on 79 minutes.
Jermaine Jenas came on to join Samba to go with a lively debut from Andros Townsend on the wing – but Rs might come to regret strikers who got away in the transfer window.
QPR: 4-4-1-1; Cesar; Fabio (Ben Haim 74), Samba, Hill, Traore; Derry, Wright-Phillips (Zamora 54), M’Bia (Jenas 68), Townsend; Taarabt; Mackie; subs not used: Green, Park, Granero, Bothroyd