Sergio Aguero wants to stay and eventually win the Champions League for Manchester City, and that conviction rang true with two more top-class goals.
Martin Dimichelis, though, was still hanging his head at the thought of his own goal that put brave QPR ahead in the 76th minute when his fellow Argentinian sprang to his rescue with seven minutes left.
Aguero, whose first half strike was his 11th in the Premier League this season, increased his tally with a typical poacher’s goal that have become his trademark.
The heavy pre-match shower was a poignant reminder of City’s Champions League fortunes which, quite frankly after Wednesday’s loss to CSKA Moscow, are akin to a water colour being left out in the rain.
QPR, having won all of their Premier League points so far on home soil, tore into their opponents as if sensing Pellegrini’s men are indeed feeling vulnerable.
Austin had the ball in the net after eight minutes, heading in an Eduardo Vargas cross only to find he had been adjudged offside. What then occurred was quite extraordinary. Hart took the resulting free kick, but nudged the ball with his left foot before connecting poorly with his right. So poorly, in fact, that he succeeded only finding Austin about 20 yards out, and the striker slammed home a cracking shot.
However, referee Mike Dean decided the set-piece was null and void, and this time the England keeper cleared properly.
No matter, after 21 minutes Austin did put Rangers ahead with a decent turn and a low drive past Hart from Isla’s assist as he cut in on the right.
The nigh-on-inevitable Aguero goal came 11 minutes later, complete with a barn-storming protest from QPR’s stopper Rob Green, who claimed the Argentinian had handled after collecting Eliaquim Mangala’s excellent through ball and shaking off Steven Caulker before firing home. Replays showed Aquero was lucky not to be flagged for offside in the first place.
Yaya Touré then fired two shots over, the second an inviting free kick, but it was QPR who continued to force the pace with the live-wire Austin producing a great diving save from Hart after a Fernando slip.
Touré, finally springing into life, hit the measured pass that flew over Richard Dunne and into Aguero’s path. In a flash he had rounded Green, evaded a desperate tackle from Dunne, and plonked in the equaliser.
In truth this was a better point for brave and battling Rangers than it was for City who find themselves eight points behind Chelsea after a topsy-turvy week. But with poor old Dimechelis joining Touré and Fenandhino – both sent off in midweek – in having a match to forget, Pellegrini’s men at least salvaged a point that looked beyond them.
Against Aguero’s lofty ambitions, Charlie Austin would probably settle for staying in the Premier League with QPR. And as good as Aguero was, this former bricklayer was dynamite on the night and instrumental in both his side’s goals.
Having fired his team ahead in the first half, it was Austin who instigated the second with a break and cross intended for Bobby Zamora. The ball never reached him, Dimichelis getting there first only to divert the ball past a startled Hart.
It was a shame Harry Redknapp’s no-nonsense side that they couldn’t hang on. A couple of crucial Fernando blocks and deflections saved the day, with Austin and Zamora ready to pounce, while Austin so nearly turned in Eduardo Vargas’s 63rd minute volley.
There was the odd scare in front of Green. In the 80th minute Caulker headed substitute James Milner’s effort off the line and Green expertly saved Fernando’s stinging follow up drive.
QPR (4-2-3-1): Green; Isla, Dunne, Caulker, Yun; Henry, Sandro (Barton, h-t); Vargas, Fer, Zamora; Austin.
Manchester City (4-2-3-1): Hart; Sagna, Demechelis, Mangala, Clichy; Fernado, City flop again after Fernandinho (Dzeko, 64, Lampard, 68), Navas, Toure, Nasri (Milner, 74); Aguero.
Referee: Mike Dean.
Man of the match: Charlie Austin (QPR)
Match rating: 8/10.Reuse content