Draw keeps Rangers in safety hunt
Published 12/01/2013 | 15:05
Harry Redknapp won his personal duel with Andre Villas-Boas as QPR held free-scoring Tottenham to a goalless draw in their Barclays Premier League clash at Loftus Road.
It was an ugly spectacle but relegation-threatened Rangers will celebrate a point against the club that fired Redknapp last June and appointed Villas-Boas as his successor.
The draw meant QPR have taken four points from their last two matches against top four opposition following their 1-0 victory over Chelsea on January 2.
It was the first time Spurs have failed to score in an away game this season and wingers Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon were rarely seen, marked out of contention in a tactical triumph for Redknapp.
Referee Lee Probert engaged in an early discussion with Rangers keeper Julio Cesar before the match burst into life in the fifth minute. Jermain Defoe's fierce attempt was brilliantly pushed onto the left post by Cesar before the Brazilian dived to deny Emmanuel Adebayor, who should have done better with the goal at his mercy.
The ensuing corner saw Cesar keep out Bale at the near post and moments later Lennon tumbled as he dashed into the box, but Probert was unconvinced. Only a deflection from Michael Dawson prevented Shaun Wright-Phillips from hitting the target in the seventh minute after a terrific pass from Adel Taarabt.
Dawson came to the rescue again with an inch-perfect tackle on Stephane Mbia on the edge of the area when he was the final defender in front of Hugo Lloris. Sandro departed the field having gone down clutching his right knee as he reached for the ball so Scott Parker came on to anchor the midfield.
QPR looked solid but panic crept into the home side in the 35th minute when Shaun Derry gave the ball away to Bale only for the Wales winger to send his cross into the stands. The chances had dried up for Tottenham with Parker's decision to pull the trigger from 40 yards evidence of their lack of opportunity.
Wright-Phillips showed dazzling footwork to launch a run to the edge of the area that ended when a disappointing shot drifted wide of the left post. Bale and Kyle Walker went close with free-kicks as Tottenham made a promising start to the second half that continued when Defoe was kept out by Cesar.
Taarabt threaded a beautiful pass to Fabio da Silva but there was no one to pick up the Brazilian's lethal square pass due to Rangers' lack of numbers in attack. Spurs still controlled possession but QPR were looking dangerous on the break, although Mbia's late theatrics when he collided with Lloris and began rolling on the floor were risible.