Premier League
QPR2Stoke2

Queens Park Rangers 2-2 Stoke City

Niko Kranjcar scores for QPR
QPR had 21 attempts on goal but Kranjcar's equaliser was only their fifth on target
  • Mark Hughes' first return to QPR since 2012 sacking
  • Stoke's Peter Crouch with an assist and a goal
  • Niko Kranjcar's late free-kick secures draw

A superb Niko Kranjcar free-kick rescued Queens Park Rangers from defeat against a Stoke side forced to pay the price for missed chances.

Peter Crouch set up Mame Biram Diouf's easy header for the opening goal before Steven Caulker headed home at the far post to level before the break.

Crouch's 51st-minute strike seemed to have secured victory for Stoke.

But Kranjcar stepped up two minutes before the end and sublimely found the top corner to secure a valuable draw.

QPR looked likely to be heading towards their fourth league defeat of the season until Kranjcar, their most creative force during an entertaining match, scored his first league goal since February 2012.

Kranjcar's dramatic strike was even more of a surprise as the west Londoners have struggled in front of goal this season, scoring just once in the league before this match.

The draw will be a bitter pill for Stoke manager Mark Hughes to swallow as his team, a constant threat on the counter-attack, were wasteful in the final third and failed to close out the game when victory was nearly theirs.

Match facts
Six of Steven Caulkers's eight Premier League goals have been headersAfter 10 Premier League games without a goal or assist, Peter Crouch has scored and assisted in this match
Niko Kranjcar has now scored three league goals against Stoke City, making them his favourite opponents in the competitionStoke are unbeaten in their last five league away games. They have not gone five in a row without defeat since April 2010

Three points over his former employers on Hughes' first return to Loftus Road since his sacking in November 2012 would have been a victory the Welshman would have savoured more than most.

Earlier this year, Hughes said he will continue to be judged on the 12-match winless run he had with QPR before his dismissal.

But he has gradually restored his reputation at Stoke, guiding the Potters to a ninth-place finish last season, and even a draw at Loftus Road ensured Stoke, unbeaten away from home this season, are now enjoying their best run on the road since April 2010.

It was a ruthless counter-attack which gave Stoke their opening goal.

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QPR's 'vital point' pleases Redknapp

Boyhood QPR fan Crouch, minutes after ruining a great move with a poor pass, climbed above Rio Ferdinand to head across goal towards the unchallenged Diouf, who headed home from four yards.

Buoyed at scoring only their third goal of the season, Stoke continued to break forward at pace through Crouch and Victor Moses. The latter nearly doubled his team's lead, shooting fractionally wide of the bottom corner after being put through by the energetic Moses.

The Stoke blueprint was going to plan, while QPR had to deal with the added complication of captain Joey Barton departing the field in the 31st minute because of injury.

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Hughes 'disappointed' with QPR point

But clumsy defending of a Jordon Mutch corner before the break ruined Stoke's game plan. Ryan Shawcross allowed Caulker to drift towards the far post and the defender headed home from an acute angle, despite the presence of three Stoke players near the line.

After a breathless opening to the second half, QPR were soon in trouble again. Injury struck once more, with Karl Henry replacing the injured Mutch, and the hosts were soon behind as a result of Crouch's first league goal since March.

Moses and Crouch were again an irresistible combination as the Nigeria winger, stealing the ball on the left, set his striker free to sweep home with a left-footed strike.

A thunderous Steven N'Zonzi effort drew gasps from the visiting fans but QPR did not fall apart.

Kranjcar and Charlie Austin went close, while questions will be asked of Ryan Shawcross's man-handling of players inside the box.

The hosts, however, could not manage a shot on target until Kranjcar struck in the 88th minute to score the third Premier League goal of his career against Stoke.

QPR manager Harry Redknapp: "It was a vital point for us in the end. When you're 2-1 down with just five minutes to go you're delighted to come away with a point.

"It was a difficult day, it's been difficult all week. Joey Barton hadn't trained much, Jordon Mutch hadn't trained for two weeks and Sandro was injured on Friday.

"We were short in some areas but I thought we showed great character to keep going. It's good for the spirit that we didn't get beat."

Stoke manager Mark Hughes: "There's a bit of frustration because, at the end, we haven't got maximum points which we deserved. Given that we feel our home form will improve markedly, we've got to be encouraged by (our away form).

"In terms of what we produced and chances in open play, we were the better team on the day but you need to manage the game and that's what we need to learn from."

Hughes on reaction from QPR fans: "Rangers fans made their feelings known and got on with supporting their team. It wasn't a problem."

Mark Hughes
Stoke manager Mark Hughes makes his first return to Loftus Road since his sacking in November 2012
Mame Biram Diouf
Mame Biram Diouf scores the opener with Stoke's first shot of the game
Steven Caulker
Caulker equalises for QPR even though Stoke have three players on the line
Charlie Adam and Peter Crouch
The impressive Peter Crouch thought he had scored the winner with his first league goal since March

Line-ups

QPR

  • 1Green
  • 14Isla
  • 4Caulker
  • 5Ferdinand
  • 3TraoreBooked at 74mins
  • 8BartonSubstituted forPhillipsat 34'minutes
  • 17MutchSubstituted forHenryat 50'minutes
  • 10FerBooked at 85mins
  • 19Kranjcar
  • 24VargasSubstituted forZamoraat 70'minutes
  • 9Austin

Substitutes

  • 7Phillips
  • 12McCarthy
  • 15Onuoha
  • 20Henry
  • 22Dunne
  • 23Hoilett
  • 25Zamora

Stoke

  • 1Begovic
  • 2Bardsley
  • 17ShawcrossBooked at 84mins
  • 12Wilson
  • 3PietersBooked at 45mins
  • 6Whelan
  • 15N'Zonzi
  • 18DioufBooked at 81mins
  • 16AdamSubstituted forSidwellat 70'minutesBooked at 88mins
  • 13MosesSubstituted forArnautovicat 79'minutes
  • 25Crouch

Substitutes

  • 4Huth
  • 5Muniesa
  • 10Arnautovic
  • 21Sidwell
  • 24Assaidi
  • 27Bojan
  • 29Sørensen
Referee:
Martin Atkinson
Attendance:
16,163

Match Stats

Home TeamQPRAway TeamStoke
Possession
Home53%
Away47%
Shots
Home21
Away8
Shots on Target
Home5
Away4
Corners
Home10
Away1
Fouls
Home6
Away15

Live Text

Match ends, Queens Park Rangers 2, Stoke City 2.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Queens Park Rangers 2, Stoke City 2.

Attempt blocked. Glenn Whelan (Stoke City) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Phil Bardsley.

Foul by Karl Henry (Queens Park Rangers).

Peter Crouch (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt saved. Niko Kranjcar (Queens Park Rangers) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Karl Henry.

Niko Kranjcar (Queens Park Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke City).

Attempt blocked. Charlie Austin (Queens Park Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Leroy Fer.

Goal!

Goal! Queens Park Rangers 2, Stoke City 2. Niko Kranjcar (Queens Park Rangers) from a free kick with a right footed shot to the top right corner.

Booking

Steve Sidwell (Stoke City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Niko Kranjcar (Queens Park Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Steve Sidwell (Stoke City).

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Charlie Austin (Queens Park Rangers) because of an injury.

Delay in match Marc Wilson (Stoke City) because of an injury.

Attempt missed. Matthew Phillips (Queens Park Rangers) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right following a corner.

Corner, Queens Park Rangers. Conceded by Asmir Begovic.

Attempt saved. Leroy Fer (Queens Park Rangers) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Karl Henry with a cross.

Booking

Leroy Fer (Queens Park Rangers) is shown the yellow card.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Booking

Ryan Shawcross (Stoke City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Delay in match Niko Kranjcar (Queens Park Rangers) because of an injury.

Niko Kranjcar (Queens Park Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Ryan Shawcross (Stoke City).

Booking

Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Leroy Fer (Queens Park Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke City).

Attempt missed. Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke City) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Phil Bardsley.

Substitution

Substitution, Stoke City. Marko Arnautovic replaces Victor Moses.

Attempt missed. Matthew Phillips (Queens Park Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Mauricio Isla with a headed pass following a corner.

Corner, Queens Park Rangers. Conceded by Erik Pieters.

Attempt blocked. Niko Kranjcar (Queens Park Rangers) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Leroy Fer.

Foul by Steven Caulker (Queens Park Rangers).

Victor Moses (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Booking

Armand Traore (Queens Park Rangers) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Armand Traore (Queens Park Rangers).

Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Substitution

Substitution, Queens Park Rangers. Bobby Zamora replaces Eduardo Vargas.

Substitution

Substitution, Stoke City. Steve Sidwell replaces Charlie Adam.

goal

As It Stood

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4Arsenal523010649
5Swansea53028629
6Man City42117437
7Tottenham42117527
8West Ham52129817
9Hull51317706
10Liverpool520378-16
11Man Utd41216335
12Everton4121910-15
13Leicester412145-15
14Stoke512245-15
15Sunderland504156-14
16QPR5113311-84
17Burnley503214-33
18Newcastle5032511-63
19Crystal Palace402258-32
20West Brom402227-52
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