League round-up: Taarabt double puts Rangers back on top

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The Independent Football

Adel Taarabt scored with two typically powerful long-range shots as Queens Park Rangers stretched their unbeaten start to the season to 18 matches and returned to the top of the Championship with a comfortable 3-1 home win over bottom club Preston North End. After four minutes a cross from the right by Rangers full-back Kyle Walker was dropped by the Preston goalkeeper, Andy Lonergan, leaving Rob Hulse to tap in his first goal for the club. Taarabt's strikes put Rangers in charge before Matt Connolly chested the ball into his own net, but it was scant consolation for Preston.

QPR's manager, Neil Warnock, was full of praise for Taarabt. "It wasn't just his goals," he said, "he's working hard to do the things I want him to when we don't have the ball. He's like a matador, the way he struts around that pitch. I'd kick him if I was playing against him."

Defender Angel Rangel fired in a late equaliser for third-placed Swansea City as they rescued a point from a 1-1 draw at Doncaster Rovers. James Hayter's fifth goal in five games had given Rovers the lead.

Tomasz Cywka, Kris Commons and Luke Moore scored as Derby County, fourth, beat Scunthorpe United 3-2, the Rams holding on with 10 men for the last 15 minutes after Gareth Roberts was sent off. Leeds United, fifth, led after 13 minutes at Norwich City through Max Gradel, but Leon Barnett headed in David Fox's corner to give the Canaries a 1-1 draw.

After three consecutive defeats, Coventry City remembered how towin when Michael Doyle scored the only goal of the game against poor travellers Burnley at the Ricoh Arena.

Reading drew 1-1 at Watford, who have now taken just two points from their last six matches, while Jason Puncheon, on loan from Southampton, scored as Millwall won 1-0 at Middlesbrough. Goals at home have been hard to come by for Hull City; Robert Koren's 25-yard effort after 77 minutes was only their sixth at the KC Stadium in nine matches, but it was enough to beat Ipswich 1-0. Bristol City goalkeeper David James saved a penalty in their 2-0 defeat of Leicester City at Ashton Gate, and Barnsley beat visitors Portsmouth 1-0. Two late goals saw Sheffield United beat Crystal Palace 3-2, both sides ending with 10 men.

League One

Mark Painter's 90th-minute own goal saw leaders Brighton held 2-2 at home by Bristol Rovers and Johnnie Jackson scored twice as second-placed Charlton beat 3-2 Yeovil at The Valley with both sides reduced to 10 men.

League Two

Craig Davies's 16th goal of the season set up the leaders Chesterfield for their 2-0 win at Aldershot.

Spanish League

The 'clasico' in nine days' time is shaping up to be a cracker with Barcelona, Real Madrid and their star men in superb form. Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick as Barcelona hammered Almeria 8-0 away with substitute Bojan Krkic netting twice. Cristiano Ronaldo matched Messi with three goals in unbeaten table-topping Real's 5-1 thrashing of Athletic Bilbao.