Rangers extend lead at summit

QPR put their off-field issues to one side to extend their Championship lead to 10 points courtesy of a 2-1 win over Crystal Palace.

Last Updated: 12/03/11 at 17:27 Post Comment

Helguson: Scored for Rangers

Helguson: Scored for Rangers

The Hoops could face a possible points deduction after the Football Association this week charged them, along with chairman Gianni Paladini, with breaches of regulations relating to third-party ownership and agents.

The seven charges relate to Argentinian playmaker Alejandro Faurlin and his move from Instituto in 2008.

Faurlin took his place in the starting line-up, but it was another midfielder, Adel Taarabt, who stole the show to help Rangers move 10 points clear of the chasing pack in the second tier.

The mercurial Moroccan put in a virtuoso performance, setting up Heidar Helguson to open the scoring before winning a penalty to allow the Iceland international to net his second after the interval.

Patrick McCarthy saw red on the back of that incident as Palace's challenge petered out after James Vaughan had restored parity on the stroke of half-time.

Most in attendance would have expected QPR to be keen to make an early impact given the recent headlines, yet it was the visitors who enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges.

However, they failed to make their possession count and were soon punished as Rangers took a 19th-minute lead through Helguson, albeit with Taarabt playing a major role.

The latter jinked his way into a dangerous area before finding Helguson with a cross-cum-shot, which the Iceland international duly converted.

As the game wore on, the Eagles backline's struggles were increasing as the league leaders counter-attacked to great effect.

Indeed had it not been for the heroics of Julian Speroni, Dougie Freedman's men would have been further behind with the goalkeeper producing an excellent save to deny the ever-impressive Taarabt.

That stop took on an added sense of importance in the 41st minute as the visitors levelled things up through Vaughan.

Darren Ambrose was the orchestrator, capitalising on Bradley Orr being out of position to find the on-loan Everton striker, who was left with a simple finish.

Their joy was soon extinguished just after the interval as they found themselves down to 10 men and 2-1 behind.

Taarabt again inflicted the damage, skilfully working his way into the penalty area before being brought down by McCarthy, who received a straight red card from referee Martin Atkinson.

Helguson made no mistake from the resulting spot-kick, sparking unsavoury scenes as plastic bottles were thrown on the pitch by Palace's frustrated supporters.

The clash entered a lull thereafter, with QPR seemingly happy to control proceedings rather than fashion openings.

Helguson missed a couple of chances to complete his hat-trick, hitting the post in the 81st minute.

But it did not matter as Rangers saw out the game despite Palace being denied a late penalty when Clint Hill appeared to have fouled Neil Danns.

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6 Reading 42 13 64
7 Brighton 42 12 64
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9 Bournemth 42 1 62
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13 Watford 41 16 57
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15 Sheff Wed 42 0 50
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