QPR hold Chelsea after handshake drama

Premier League, Loftus Road - Queens Park Rangers 0 Chelsea 0

QPR and Chelsea played out a 0-0 stalemate at Loftus Road after Anton Ferdinand snubbed John Terry and Ashley Cole pre-match.

Chelsea's 100 per cent league record came to an end at the home of their West London rivals, where Ferdinand, Terry and Cole took centre-stage following last season's race allegations which culminated in a not guilty verdict for Terry in July.

QPR debutant Julio Cesar impressed in goal with a string of solid saves while Bobby Zamora had an effort cleared off the line in the second half after a horror back pass attempt by John Obi Mikel.

But a heated affair did not ultimately produce any goals and Roberto Di Matteo's side remain top of the league on 10 points despite victories for Manchester United and Arsenal elsewhere.

The Hoops, meanwhile, remain near the foot of the table, still without their first league win.

Before a ball had been kicked, the match was making headlines when Ferdinand opted not to shake the hands of either Terry or Cole during the pre-match ritual, which had been abandoned altogether the previous season when the clubs last met.

Words were had between centre-backs Terry and Ferdinand before the hostilities transitioned into the alleged centrepiece of the afternoon – the actual football match – in a tense and scrappy opening period.

Ramires and Ryan Bertrand both picked up first-half bookings as Rangers – managed by ex-Chelsea man Mark Hughes, settled into the game the quickest.

The lion’s share of the decent chances came the way of the European champions, however, with Cesar forced to make a pair of excellent blocks to deny first Eden Hazard and then Fernando Torres.

Fabio had a penalty claim waved away by referee Andre Marriner when he collided with David Luiz on the left-hand edge of the Chelsea box, before Hazard went down in the opposite area under pressure from Shaun Wright-Phillips, only to receive the same response.

The hosts lost two players early on to injury as Fabio and Andrew Johnson each pulled up with little over half an hour played, restricting their control of the tempo with the departure of two of their most creative players in the early stages.

A hotly-contested opening 10 minutes of the second half had little in the way of serious chances until home captain Park Ji-sung headed a delicious cross from Esteban Granero into the arms of Petr Cech.

Minutes later, a mistake from substitute Nedum Onuoha let Hazard in but his deft flick to put Torres in with a chance at goal was poorly controlled by the Spaniard.

With 13 minutes to go, that error was topped in a big way by Mikel when his back pass was underscored and Zamora pounced, only to blink first in the stand-off in front of goal with Cech, allowing the Czech to do enough to delay the striker.

By the time he pulled off a chance at goal, black shirts were back to block its path and a subsequent breakaway led to Victor Moses forcing another decent parry from Cesar in the former Wigan man’s cameo from the bench.

Four minutes from time, Hazard should have won the game for his side only to blast a point-blank opportunity over after Branislav Ivanovic cut inside from the right to find Moses, whose low cross found the Belgian 10 yards from goal with precision.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Julio Cesar - Queens Park Rangers: Rob Green's autumn went from bad to worse as the former Inter Milan stopper made an impressive home debut for his new employers with a string of saves.

PLAYER RATINGS

QPR: Cesar 8, Ferdinand 6, Park 7, Johnson 7, Wright-Phillips 6, Granero 6, Nelsen 7, Bosingwa 6, Fabio 6, Zamora 6, Faurlin 5. SUBS: Cisse 5, Mackie 6, Onuoha 5.

CHELSEA: Cech 7, Ivanovic 7, Luiz 7, Terry 6, Cole 5, Mikel 5, Lampard 6 Ramires 6, Hazard 6, Bertrand 5, Torres 5. SUBS: Moses 7, Sturridge 6.

MATCHCAST: FULL COMMENTARY AND STATS