Premier League
Aston VillaAston Villa3QPRQueens Park Rangers3

Aston Villa 3-3 Queens Park Rangers

By Jonathan JurejkoBBC Sport
Christian Benteke's hat-trick took his tally to nine Premier League goals this season
Christian Benteke's hat-trick took his tally to nine Premier League goals this season
  • Villa salvage draw to stay out of bottom three
  • Point keeps QPR in relegation zone
  • Both teams have six matches left
  • Benteke scores his second Villa hat-trick

Christian Benteke's hat-trick rescued a vital point for Aston Villa in a pulsating game against Premier League relegation rivals QPR.

QPR led when Matt Phillips headed in Bobby Zamora's deft left-wing cross.

Villa levelled through Benteke's deflected drive, then the Belgian's calm finish put them ahead.

Clint Hill's firm header and Charlie Austin's clinical finish restored QPR's lead, but Benteke's free-kick kept Villa out of the bottom three.

Villa would have dropped into the relegation zone, with QPR climbing out at their expense, had they been beaten by the visitors at Villa Park.

But Benteke's sublime set-piece, which he curled over the away defence into the bottom left corner of the QPR goal, ensured Villa moved up to 16th.

'Sloppy' QPR disappoint Ramsey

Tim Sherwood's men are three points clear of the third-bottom visitors, who climbed above Burnley with the draw.

However, both sides will be bitterly disappointed not to have taken maximum points. Villa looked sharper and more inventive for larger periods, but their long-standing defensive frailties allowed Rangers to go within sight of a second successive away win.

Sherwood warned his players ahead of kick-off that they would have to dig deep in a fixture which he described as "the club's biggest match for years" - and these fighting qualities came to the fore as they snatched a draw.

Rival managers Sherwood and Chris Ramsey are close friends, having worked together at Tottenham and living close to each other, and the two shared warm embraces on the touchline before kick-off and following the final whistle.

Respective run-ins
Aston Villa:Spurs (A) - 11 AprilMan City (A) - 25 April
Everton (H) - 2 MayWest Ham (H) - 9 May
So'ton (A) - 16 MayBurnley (H) - 24 May
QPR:Chelsea (H) - 12 AprilWest Ham (H) - 25 April
Liverpool (A) - 2 MayMan City (A) - 10 May
Newcastle (H) - 16 MayLeicester (A) - 24 May

Ramsey had only won one game since replacing Harry Redknapp in early February, but saw his side double their tally with a convincing 4-1 win at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.

It meant Rangers returned to the West Midlands full of confidence - and they needed just nine minutes to take the lead.

Former England striker Zamora was allowed to run across the Villa penalty area, before clipping a perfectly-weighted cross to the far post where Phillips was waiting.

The Villa fans reacted by providing increased vocal support - and their team responded just 151 seconds later with the equaliser.

Villa deserved to win - Sherwood

Belgium striker Benteke, who had scored five goals in his previous six matches for club and country, charged into the QPR box from the left touchline and saw his angled shot deflect off Rangers defender Mauricio Isla past his own keeper Robert Green.

Sherwood reacted to the equaliser with a manic celebration - ripping off his jacket and hurling it to the ground - to illustrate what the occasion meant to the Villa manager.

Villa oozed confidence in a high-tempo first half, dominating possession and territory, as the home side used their pace and energy to pull apart QPR's ageing side.

The Birmingham club, who have not been relegated since 1986-87, deservedly edged ahead when Benteke kept his composure to finish a swift counter attack.

Veteran QPR defender Hill escaped his marker at a corner to restore parity with his first Premier League goal, then England hopeful Austin pounced on a loose ball to sweep in his 17th top-flight goal of the season.

But, after Hill hauled down Villa substitute Charles N'Zogbia on the edge of the QPR penalty area, Benteke converted to walk off with the match ball.

Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood:

"We deserved to win the game, anyone who saw it knew we created all the chances, we should have been out of sight.

"We have an injury crisis at this club and we are just trying to patch people up and get them out there and I thought they did extremely well in the circumstances. To not win after a one-sided football match is disappointing.

"On the balance I thought we played well but QPR just seemed to take their chances. I am not sure they had more than five shots and they score three goals."

QPR manager Chris Ramsey:

"I thought we could (hang on) but a free-kick is a free-kick, at that stage most of their attacking options had been exhausted.

"I'm disappointed if I'm being honest. But before the game if someone said we'd get four points from the last two games we probably would have taken that."

Villa boss Tim Sherwood produced an emotional celebration after Villa's first equaliser
Villa boss Tim Sherwood produced an emotional celebration after Villa's first equaliser
Clint Hill, aged 36 years and 170 days, became the eighth oldest player in Premier League history to score his first goal in the competition
Clint Hill, aged 36 years and 170 days, became the eighth oldest player in Premier League history to score his first goal in the competition
Charlie Austin has been involved in 21 of QPR's 38 league goals this season, scoring 17 and providing four assists
Charlie Austin has been involved in 21 of QPR's 38 league goals this season, scoring 17 and providing four assists
QPR boss Chris Ramsey served as Villa rival Tim Sherwood's assistant at Tottenham last season
QPR boss Chris Ramsey served as Villa rival Tim Sherwood's assistant at Tottenham last season

Line-ups

Aston Villa

  • 1Guzan
  • 7BacunaSubstituted forLowtonat 75'minutes
  • 4Vlaar
  • 6Clark
  • 18Richardson
  • 8CleverleySubstituted forN'Zogbiaat 81'minutes
  • 24C Sánchez
  • 16Delph
  • 11Agbonlahor
  • 20Benteke
  • 40GrealishSubstituted forColeat 70'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Baker
  • 5Okore
  • 10Weimann
  • 12Cole
  • 28N'Zogbia
  • 31Given
  • 34Lowton

QPR

  • 1Green
  • 14IslaSubstituted forTraoreat 52'minutes
  • 15Onuoha
  • 4Caulker
  • 6HillBooked at 82mins
  • 7Phillips
  • 30Guimaraes CordeiroBooked at 34minsSubstituted forDoughtyat 70'minutes
  • 8Barton
  • 19KranjcarBooked at 35minsSubstituted forHenryat 52'minutes
  • 9AustinBooked at 57mins
  • 25Zamora

Substitutes

  • 3Traore
  • 12McCarthy
  • 20Henry
  • 23Hoilett
  • 34Mitchell
  • 36Doughty
  • 39Grego-Cox
Referee:
Craig Pawson
Attendance:
33,708

Match Stats

Home TeamAston VillaAway TeamQPR
Possession
Home64%
Away36%
Shots
Home21
Away11
Shots on Target
Home7
Away5
Corners
Home7
Away3
Fouls
Home8
Away12

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Aston Villa 3, Queens Park Rangers 3.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Aston Villa 3, Queens Park Rangers 3.

  3. Post update

    Attempt missed. Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Ron Vlaar with a headed pass following a set piece situation.

  4. Post update

    Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  5. Post update

    Foul by Matthew Phillips (Queens Park Rangers).

  6. Post update

    Attempt missed. Joe Cole (Aston Villa) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Matthew Lowton with a cross.

  7. Post update

    Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Armand Traore.

  8. Post update

    Offside, Queens Park Rangers. Michael Doughty tries a through ball, but Charlie Austin is caught offside.

  9. Post update

    Attempt missed. Christian Benteke (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the right side of the box is too high. Assisted by Matthew Lowton.

  10. Post update

    Foul by Carlos Sánchez (Aston Villa).

  11. Post update

    Michael Doughty (Queens Park Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  12. Goal!

    Goal! Aston Villa 3, Queens Park Rangers 3. Christian Benteke (Aston Villa) from a free kick with a right footed shot to the bottom left corner.

  13. Booking

    Clint Hill (Queens Park Rangers) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  14. Post update

    Charles N'Zogbia (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  15. Post update

    Foul by Clint Hill (Queens Park Rangers).

  16. Substitution

    Substitution, Aston Villa. Charles N'Zogbia replaces Tom Cleverley.

  17. Goal!

    Goal! Aston Villa 2, Queens Park Rangers 3. Charlie Austin (Queens Park Rangers) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Matthew Phillips.

  18. Post update

    Foul by Christian Benteke (Aston Villa).

  19. Post update

    Joey Barton (Queens Park Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  20. Post update

    Foul by Joe Cole (Aston Villa).

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Chelsea30217263263770
2Arsenal31196662323063
3Man Utd31188555282762
4Man City31187663303361
5Liverpool3116694536954
6Tottenham3116695045554
7Southampton311651042222053
8Swansea31137113739-246
9West Ham31119114139242
10Stoke31126133539-442
11Crystal Palace31109123842-439
12Everton31910123942-337
13Newcastle3198143349-1635
14West Brom3189142843-1533
15Sunderland31514122444-2029
16Aston Villa3278172345-2229
17Hull31610152943-1428
18QPR3275203858-2026
19Burnley31511152649-2326
20Leicester3057182949-2022
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