Rangers see off nearest rivals

Adel Taarabt was once again QPR's match-winner as the west Londoners beat Cardiff 2-1 to move five points clear at the top of the Championship.

Last Updated: 27/11/10 at 18:02

Taarabt: Celebrates goal

Taarabt: Celebrates goal

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The mercurial Moroccan showed why he is regarded as one of the best players in the division with an another inspirational display capped with a second-half winner against second-placed Cardiff on Saturday.

Craig Bellamy's first goal in seven games put the the Bluebirds in front in the first half at Loftus Road, but Kaspars Gorkss equalised soon after and former Spurs midfielder Taarabt struck in the second half to give Rangers a deserved victory.

The Hoops are still unbeaten in the Championship and look destined for a long-awaited return to the top flight, while stuttering Cardiff have now lost their last two matches.

Jamie Mackie had an early chance to put Rangers in front but the Scotland striker flashed his right-foot strike wide from 20 yards.

The Bluebirds responded and midfielder Peter Whittingham left fly from just outside the penalty area but failed to keep his shot down.

But Dave Jones' side were in front 12 minutes in when Jay Bothroyd crossed from the left and Bellamy was on hand to turn the ball home from six yards out.

Cardiff were fortunate to be in front and the home side were rewarded for their dominance when they equalised five minutes later.

Tommy Smith was the architect, producing some trickery on the right flank before crossing for centre-back Gorkss, who planted a header beyond Tom Heaton.

Taarabt was just off target with a strike from 20 yards out as QPR remained on the front foot.

But the Hoops were almost caught out and it took a good reaction save from Paddy Kenny with his feet to deny Bothroyd from six yards out after 33 minutes.

Bluebirds goalkeeper Heaton had to be alert to palm away a well executed long-range volley from Alejandro Faurlin two minutes before the break.

Rob Hulse had the first real chance of the second half but the former Derby striker volleyed wide from the edge of the penalty area.

Hulse was in the thick of the action and he was once again guilty of failing to test Heaton with a header from 12 yards out after 65 minutes as Neil Warnock's side piled the pressure on.

But that elusive second goal arrived three minutes later courtesy of the inspirational Taarabt.

The home captain skipped past Lee Naylor and surged into the penalty area then, after a neat piece of skill, he found the top-left corner with a clinical strike.

Cardiff almost equalised after 71 minutes when Jason Koumas cut into the box but Kenny did well to keep out the on-loan midfielder's right-foot finish.

Seyi Olofinjana could have snatched a point right at the death but he headed straight at Kenny as Cardiff slipped up once again.

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Position Team P GD PTS
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2 N Forest 10 10 20
3 Watford 10 8 20
4 Derby 10 9 19
5 Ipswich 10 6 18
6 Charlton 10 4 18
7 Wolves 10 3 18
8 M'boro 10 6 17
9 Sheff Wed 10 3 16
10 Reading 10 0 15
11 Blackburn 10 -2 14
12 Leeds 10 -2 14
13 Brentford 10 -3 14
14 Cardiff 10 0 13
15 Bournemth 10 1 12
16 Millwall 10 -3 11
17 Rotherham 10 -4 11
18 Huddersfld 10 -8 11
19 Brighton 10 -2 10
20 Birmingham 10 -6 10
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22 Fulham 10 -8 7
23 Bolton 10 -12 5
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