Match Report: Michu cashes in as Julio Cesar shows strain

Swansea City 4 Queens Park Rangers 1: paniard’s double brings Rangers’ revival to a halt amid controversy over goalkeeper’s injury

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The Independent Football

Both Swansea and QPR jet off to Dubai today, but that’s where the similarity ends with Harry Redknapp’s struggling outfit closer to a place in the Championship after this rampant showing from the Capital One Cup finalists.

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Michu, the Spaniard who has had a sensational debut Premier League season, ended his six-game goal drought with a fine double to haunt the Londoners once again.

The 26-year-old scored twice on the opening day at Loftus Road and was back in striking action here with goals in each half – his first goals since January 9 – to inflict further damage on QPR’s hopes of avoiding relegation.

Swansea’s manager, Michael Laudrup said: “Michu’s not even a centre-forward. He’s an offensive midfielder who can play centre- forward and scores a lot of goals.

“He does a lot more than just waiting for the chance to score goals. He works hard. It’s never been a problem. He hasn’t been down and I haven’t had to lift him.

“I was very pleased to see us score four goals after going two games without a goal.”

The edge was taken off Laudrup’s joy, though, by an injury to Chico Flores, and he was left sweating on the results of a scan after the centre-back sustained an ankle injury that could rule him out of the Wembley final against Bradford City.

“Apart from Chico’s injury, it was a great afternoon,” Laudrup said. “The first half performance was excellent. I don’t recall QPR having one shot at goal. I was pleased with the third goal as the game had reopened when they scored.”

Michu’s eighth minute opener was the start of a horror show from QPR’s expensive goalkeeper Julio Cesar. The Brazil No 1 had been in rich form, keeping four clean sheets in the Hoops’ five-game unbeaten run, which offered a glimmer to the Londoners.

But that recent form disappeared as the ex-Inter Milan stopper made a feeble attempt to save Nathan Dyer’s 25-yard shot, giving Michu the chance to convert from close-range. Not that the Spaniard did it easily. Normally an accomplished finisher, Michu sliced his shot, but it dropped beyond Cesar. After a lean spell, a goal is good any way it comes.

Harry Redknapp offered some mitigation for his goalkeeper, saying he was carrying a groin strain. QPR’s manager said: “We gave bad and sloppy goals away and they were bad errors from us. The keeper has been absolutely fantastic in our last five games and probably as good as any keeper in the league, but he played with a groin strain. He felt he was alright, but obviously he wasn’t at his best. I can only go by what he tells me. I was told he was okay.”

Swansea were in the mood and a lovely pass from Wayne Routledge set Angel Rangel free, the Spanish full-back’s initial shot was kept out by Cesar, but he dispatched the follow-up coolly.

After that dismal 45 minutes Redknapp made a double change at half-time. Bobby Zamora came on and scored three minutes later. Ben Davies gifted possession to Adel Taarabt, whose low, driven shot was palmed out by Michel Vorm with Zamora reacting quickest to score.

But any hopes of a fightback were quickly dashed as Swansea added a third within two minutes. Michu switched play to Pablo Hernandez on the left and, after the club-record signing danced past Nedum Onuoha, the wideman squeezed a low shot past Cesar before Michu latched on Hernandez’s pass to leave Redknapp soul-searching in the days to come.

Swansea: Vorm; Rangel, Chico (Bartley, 32), Williams, Davies; Ki, de Guzman, Routledge (Agustien, 63); Dyer, Michu (Moore, 80), Hernandez

QPR: Cesar; Onuoha, Samba, Hill, Traore; Townsend, Mbia, Derry (Granero, ht), Jenas (Wright-Phillips, 67), Mbia, Townsend; Taarabt, Mackie (Zamora, ht)

Referee: Neil Swarbrick

Man of the match: Michu (Swansea)

Match rating: 8/10