QPR indebted to the trickery of Taarabt

Queen's Park Rangers 2 Coventry City 1
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The Independent Football

There were well-weighted passes, clever shimmies and tricky runs. Coventry could clearly see the danger Adel Taarabt posed before he unlocked their defence but, like so many Championship sides before them, they were powerless to shackle him.

When QPR are trailing and struggling to penetrate – as they were here – the mercurial Moroccan is the man they turn to and, once again, his two moments of eye-catching excellence turned this game.

First, there was the equaliser. A long goal-kick by Paddy Kenny landed at Taarabt's feet on the edge of the 18-yard box. Taarabt teased Gary McSheffrey and Richard Keogh with his footwork before slipping away from the pair of them and powerfully striking the ball beyond goalkeeper Keiren Westwood.

Then came the match-winning assist, a lofted pass with the outside of the right boot over the top of the defence for Wayne Routledge to finish.

The QPR manager, Neil Warnock, said: "You pay money to watch Taarabt. He thinks he should be playing for Real Madrid. He could play for them. Either goal was fit to win a game. The second goal was fit to win any game in the world, not just the Championship."

Match-winner Routledge was making a return to his former club's line-up after signing on-loan from Newcastle. The winger created the first serious danger for Coventry in the 12th minute, crossing for Heidar Helguson, whose downward header from eight yards bounced up and over.

QPR were frustrated again midway through the half when they had a penalty appeal for handball rejected as another Helguson header was blocked by Martin Cranie. But Coventry took the lead on a rare attack through Marlon King. McSheffrey supplied a low, curling cross from the left and King neatly knocked the ball beyond Kenny from the middle of the six-yard box.

Taarabt drifted out of the game in patches but still looked the man most likely to bring QPR back into the contest. Coventry did not heed the warnings though and he eventually equalised in first-half stoppage-time.

The visitors responded well after half-time but Rangers rattled them minutes later when Alejandro Faurlin's 25-yard free-kick struck a post. Kenny then received a deserved ovation when he made a fine double-save. First he kept out King's 25-yard shot before smothering Lukas Jutkiewicz's close-range follow-up.

QPR made the most of their fortune, probing diligently until Taarabt paved the way for Routledge, who snatched the lead with little more than 10 minutes remaining.

QPR (4-4-1-1): Kenny; Orr, Gorkss, Connolly, Hill; Smith (Hall, 83), Derry, Faurlin, Routledge (Ephraim, 90); Taarabt; Helguson (Miller, 55). Substitutes not used Cerny (gk), Clarke, Hulse, Moen. Booked Derry.

Coventry City (4-4-2): Westwood; Keogh, Cranie, Wood, O'Halloran; Gunnarsson, Doyle (Clingan, 67), Baker, McSheffrey (Platt, 78); Eastwood (Jutkiewicz, h-t), King. Substitutes not used: Ireland (gk), Bell, Clarke, Cameron. Booked Doyle, O'Halloran.

Man of the match Taarabt.

Match rating 7/10.

Possession QPR 54 % Coventry City 46%.

Shots on target QPR 6 Coventry City 7.

Referee M Haywood (Yorkshire).

Attendance 13,185.

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