Diakite dismissal gives Fulham easy ride in west London derby

Queens Park Rangers 0 Fulham 1

Loftus Road

QPR's owner, Tony Fernandes, was left with much to ponder after flying in from Malaysia in search of evidence that his £12m January investment would secure the club's Premier League status. Even before Samba Diakite became the fifth Rangers player this season to be dismissed on home turf, positive indicators were few. QPR were trailing to Pavel Pogrebnyak's early strike when the Malian's debut was cut short 33 minutes in.

Surprisingly, given Fulham's early dominance of the west London derby, and Diakite's departure, the Russian's second goal in two matches since arriving in the closing minutes of the transfer window was not added to, but the result was rarely in doubt. Rangers have now taken four points from six matches since Hughes was installed and the Welshman's mood was reflected in a frosty exchange with the Fulham manager, Martin Jol, at the final whistle as the pair shook hands.

"I offered him my hand, shook his, and congratulated him on the win," said Hughes. "Then I took exception as I thought he was going to pat me on the head which I thought was slightly patronising, so I brushed his hand away."

"Maybe I made it a bit too personal," said Jol. "I tried to grab his shoulder and he didn't like that because he is a tough guy, he is a winner, he wants to win."

He needs to win. This was the fifth of a run of seven games QPR's board had identified as "winnable" when deciding to replace Neil Warnock, who led QPR out of the Championship last season, with Hughes. The previous four, against Wigan, Aston Villa, Wolves and Blackburn had brought four points, there are only Everton and Bolton to come before a daunting run-in.

In the circumstances Hughes could do with his new recruits lasting 90 minutes but, like Djibril Cissé in his home debut a fortnight ago, Diakite did not. Signed on loan from Nancy with a £3.6m transfer to follow should QPR stay up, he appeared a powerful holding midfielder. But if he is to prosper he will have to temper his tackling. The first booking came after a triangle of challenges which left three Fulham players writhing. Thirteen minutes later, as Fulham broke, he lunged late at Bryan Ruiz. He followed team-mates Clint Hill, Armand Traoré, Joey Barton and Cissé in having seen red at Loftus Road this season. "I thought he was our best player at that point," said Hughes ruefully, adding: "I take responsibility. He's new to the League. Ideally we'd introduce him more slowly but we need to put our good players on the pitch."

Being reduced to 10 was the last thing QPR needed against a team which put six past them at Craven Cottage in October. Hughes fielded five survivors from that debacle; seven Fulham players figured, plus Bobby Zamora who had scored one of Fulham's sextet, but had since switched clubs. Zamora received plenty of abuse from the away support, but no more than Hughes, who was serenaded with pointed, unprintable references to "ambition" after walking out of Fulham at the end of last season and declaring that the club's did not match his.

Hughes's old team look far superior to his current one. Fulham took control and scored, Moussa Dembélé's flick releasing Pogrebnyak behind Anton Ferdinand and the Russian loanee scored with a composure that belied a record of one goal in 14 Bundesliga games for parent club Stuttgart this season.

Rangers' back four were playing together for the first time and it showed. Fulham were all fluidity and movement as Rangers struggled to track their forward players' angled runs. Clint Dempsey and Pogrebnyak should have added to the lead as Danny Murphy and Dembélé pulled strings from midfield. "We want seven" chorused the Fulham faithful, but getting two was proving a problem with Kenny denying Murphy and Dempsey wasting another chance. Rangers tightened and Fulham were happy to sit on their lead and should have paid for their lack of ambition when Shaun Wright-Phillips went clear eight minutes from time but Mark Schwarzer denied him with a save so deft a goal-kick was given.

QPR (4-1-4-1): Kenny; Onuoha, Ferdinand, Hill, Taiwo (Traoré, 72); Diakite; Mackie, Wright-Phillips (Buzacky, 83), Barton, Taarabt; Zamora.

Fulham (4-2-3-1): Schwarzer; Kelly, Hughes, Hangeland, Riise; Dembélé, Murphy (Baird, 75); Ruiz (Duff, 78), Johnson (Etuhu, 82), Dempsey; Pogrebnyak.

Referee Phil Dowd.

Man of the match Dembélé (Fulham).

Match rating 6/10.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Teeth should be brushed twice a day to prevent tooth decay
Bryan Cranston as Walter White, in the acclaimed series 'Breaking Bad'
footballChelsea 6 Maribor 0: Blues warm up for Premier League showdown with stroll in Champions League - but Mourinho is short of strikers
Those who were encouraged to walk in a happy manner remembered less negative words
Arts and Entertainment
Princess Olga in 'You Can't Get the Staff'
tvReview: The anachronistic aristocrats, it seemed, were just happy to have some attention
Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones
Life and Style

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London