Match Report | Queens Park Rangers 1-2 Cardiff City
Cardiff City kicked 2024 off in winning fashion, after defeating Queens Park Rangers 2-1 away from home.
Dimitrios Goutas put the Bluebirds ahead from a corner early in the first half, put were pegged back at the beginning of the second by Paul Smyth. City responded through Perry Ng, who scored from another corner to seal all three points.
Erol Bulut elected to make two changes from the side that lost to Leicester City on Friday, as Josh Bowler and Karlan Grant were replaced by Yakou Méïté and Rubin Colwill.
While neither side were able to create any golden opportunities, the Bluebirds looked the more threatening as they probed the QPR defence. They would be rewarded for their positive play after the quarter of an hour mark, as Goutas guided Joe Ralls’ delivery into the far corner.
Marti Cifuentes’ side didn’t provide much of a test to the City defence immediately, with the backline looking solid and comfortable. At the other end of the field, the forward line of Kion Etete, Méïté, and Colwill caused plenty of headaches for the Rangers defence.
The home side’s best opportunity came in stoppage time of the first half, but full-back Kenneth Paal could only fire a free-kick straight into the clutches of Jak Alnwick, as City held a deserved lead at the interval.
Rangers came out with more firepower at the beginning of the second half, and they found their equaliser shortly after the resumption. Half-time substitute Rayan Kolli’s cross was prodded in at the far post by Paul Smyth. The winger could have added a second minutes later, but his shot from outside the box flashed past the post.
Bulut’s men responded well and fashioned out two chances, both falling to Colwill. His first shot from a tight angle forced Asmir Begović into a save, and moments later, his driven effort from outside the area once again had the Bosnian keeper scrambling.
Begović was becoming a key factor in the game for QPR, and he was called into action once again to deny Josh Bowler a goal. But his luck ran out in the final quarter of the game. His rash decision to come out from a Ryan Wintle corner was costly, and it allowed Perry Ng to head into an empty net.
Once again, Rangers struggled to create anything after the second City goal, but in second half stoppage time, Alnwick produced a heroic save, as he clawed the ball off his line from a header.
That save proved to be the all-important one, as City took all three points away from Loftus Road.
Next up for Cardiff City is an Emirates FA Cup clash away to Sheffield Wednesday, which kicks off at 5:30pm on Saturday, January 6th.
FINAL SCORE | QUEENS PARK RANGERS 1-2 CARDIFF CITY
QPR: Begović ©, Dunne, Clarke-Salter (Fox 81’), Field, Dykes, Smyth, Dozzell, Dixon-Bonner (Adomah 67’), Cannon, Larkeche (Kolli 46’, Armstrong 81’), Paal. Subs not used: Archer, Kakay, Talla, Drewe, Pedder.
Cardiff City: Alnwick, Ng, McGuinness, Goutas, Collins (Panzo 87’), Siopis (Adams 87’), Wintle, Ralls ©, Méïté, R. Colwill (Tanner 74’), Etete (Bowler 60’). Subs not used: Turner, J. Colwill, Evans, Ugbo, Robinson.