Queens Park Rangers 2-2 Stoke City: Kranjcar’s cracker saves QPR (video)
Queens Park Rangers struck late to grab a 2-2 at Loftus Road on Saturday, as Niko Kranjcar’s superb free kick stopped Stoke from taking away all three points.
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The Potters took the lead early on through Mame Diouf who headed home after Peter Crouch set him up but QPR came roaring back and just before the break Steven Caulker headed home to make it 1-1 after losing his marker superbly at a corner. However, five minutes after half time the impressive Victor Moses played in Crouch to hammer home what looked like being the winner against his former club.
Kranjcar then stepped up and curled home a beautiful free kick with two minutes of normal time left to grab the R’s a point. Harry Redknapp’s QPR now have four points from their first five games, while Stoke have five from five after letting their lead slip late on.
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Stoke City went ahead in the 11th minute as Victor Moses raced away down the right, beat Mauricio Isla and looped in cross which Peter Crouch headed down to Diouf to nod home from close range. 1-0 to the Potters with their first attack of the match as Crouch beat Rio Ferdinand way too easily to set the goal up. Moments later Moses raced away again but his low drive was well-saved by Robert Green as QPR started slow out of the blocks.
On the half hour mark it was Moses again who caused QPR’s defense problems as he sped away down the right and played in Crouch, but the former R’s forward dragged his shot wide as Stoke pressed for a second.
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Nico Kranjcar drilled a long-range effort just wide of the top corner soon after, as QPR got back into the game. 10 minutes before the break Matt Phillips came on for Joey Barton, with the former handing Rio Ferdinand a hand-written note on his arrival onto the pitch.
In the 42nd minute QPR were level as Mutch’s corner from the left was headed home by Caulker to make it 1-1. The central defender was under extreme pressure from Ryan Shawcross but beat his man to nod home, as Crouch and Charlie Adam got in each others way on the line and the ball was deflected in.
After the break, Stoke retook the lead as Moses wriggled free on the left and pulled a ball back to the penalty spot which Crouch slammed home with his left foot to score against his former club to make it 2-1. The game opened up after the Potters went ahead, with Steven Nzonzi almost making it 3-1 before Charlie Austin’s effort flew just over at the other end.
The final stages of the match played out with Stoke holding on to what they had but then Kranjcar stepped up to score his first Premier League goal since February 2012, as the Croatian international salvaged a point for the Londoners with a stunning free kick.
QPR: Green, Isla, Caulker, Ferdinand, Traore, Mutch (Henry, 50'), Barton (Phillips, 34'), Fer, Kranjcar, Austin, Vargas (Zamora, 70')
Goals: Caulker, (42'), Kranjcar (88')
Stoke: Begovic, Bardsley, Shawcross, Wilson, Pieters, Nzonzi, Whelan, Diouf, Adam (Sidwell, 70'), Moses (Arnautovic, 79'), Crouch.
Goals: Diouf (11'), Crouch (51')