Premier League - Taarabt misses penalty in QPR draw with Norwich

Premier League, Loftus Road - Queens Park Rangers 0 Norwich City 0

QPR were left to rue Adel Taarabt’s missed penalty after a 0-0 draw with Norwich at Loftus Road in the Premier League.

After 56 minutes Jamie Mackie was felled by Mark Bunn in the area, but the Norwich goalkeeper got up to save Taarabt’s effort low to his left.

The visitors too had their chances, with Wes Hoolahan denied by some outstanding goalkeeping from Julio Cesar.

QPR kept pushing forward in a lively second half, but Harry Redknapp’s new-look side were frustrated, and remain rooted to the bottom of the table.

Redknapp, having been busy on deadline day, predictably rang the changes. Christopher Samba and Andros Townsend were both handed debuts, while a late groin injury to Loic Remy meant that Mackie led the line.

It meant that just two players – Fabio and Shaun Wright-Phillips – were still in the starting line-up from the first team then-manager Mark Hughes selected after the summer window had closed.

Norwich had new arrival Luciano Becchio on the bench, with Chris Hughton naming an unchanged line-up after securing a 1-1 draw against Tottenham in midweek.

The first half was disappointing, with QPR lively but often lacking direction, and Norwich calmer in possession.

Creatively, the hosts were largely limited to moments of brilliance from Taarabt, who excited the crowd with a powerful run and shot from the edge of the area after 10 minutes, and remained a handful throughout the half.

The visitors had the clearer opportunities – Hoolahan ought to have done better after four minutes after Robert Snodgrass had turned past Armand Traore and whipped a good ball into the near post.

Snodgrass himself ought to have done better when Hoolahan turned provider 28 minutes in, but his header lacked power and was easy for Julio Cesar to gather.

Wright-Phillips, who flitted in and out of the game compared to the busier Townsend, saw a shot splash wide later on in the half, but it was a rare opportunity as the match degenerated into a series of poorly-executed set-pieces, with Samba in particular trudging upfield willingly time and again, only to have to hurry back.

The second half was more exciting, even if the quality of the football did not rise appreciably.

Norwich burst into life in a brief flurry – Grant Holt and Snodgrass going close, but Hoolahan the closest of all, denied by Cesar’s reflex save after a superb cross from Russell Martin.

But QPR were the better side, enjoying more of the ball, and it looked like the penalty would finally break the deadlock.

When Bunn pulled off the stop, the chances kept coming. Taarabt tried his luck from distance – so did Bradley Johnson at the other end. Bunn and Cesar, consistently excellent, then both pulled off sharp saves from Townsend and Johnson respectively.

Samba saw a goalbound header deflected away acrobatically by Holt, while second-half substitute Bobby Zamora almost stole in at the near post to nod home with seven minutes to go.

The draw steadies Norwich, who had been on a losing streak in the division and slid down to 14th place before this match – but for QPR, who now have just 13 more matches to beat the drop, this was two points spurned.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Julio Cesar (QPR) - Another commanding performance. QPR spent most of their time on the front foot, but had the Brazilian to thank for emerging with a clean sheet.

PLAYER RATINGS

QPR: Cesar 8, Fabio 6, Samba 7, Hill 7, Traore 6, SWP 5, Derry 6, Mbia 5, Townsend 8, Taarabt 7, Mackie 7. Subs: Jenas 6, Ben Haim 5, Zamora 7

NORWICH: Bunn 8, Martin 6, Johnson 6, Bassong 6, Turner 6, Snodgrass 7, Holt 6, Pilkington 6, Hoolahan 7, Garrido 6, Tettey 6. Subs: E.Bennett 7, Becchio N/A

MATCHCAST: FULL COMMENTARY AND STATS