Sport Soccer

Wednesday 24 January 2018

Austin double powers QPR to play-off final

QPR 2 Wigan 1 (QPR win 2-1 on aggregate)

Queens Park Rangers' Charlie Austin in action with Wigan Athleltic's Shaun Maloney during the Sky Bet Championship, Play-off Semi Final. Scott Heavey/PA Wire.
Queens Park Rangers' Charlie Austin in action with Wigan Athleltic's Shaun Maloney during the Sky Bet Championship, Play-off Semi Final. Scott Heavey/PA Wire.
Wigan Athletic's Gary Caldwell brings down Queens Park Rangers' Junior Hoilett to concede a penalty during the Sky Bet Championship, Play-off Semi Final. Scott Heavey/PA Wire.
QPR's Charlie Austin scores their second goal during the Sky Bet Championship, Play-off Semi Final. Scott Heavey/PA Wire.
The QPR fans invade the pitch after the final whistle during the Sky Bet Championship, Play-off Semi Final. Scott Heavey/PA Wire.

Charlie Austin fired QPR to Wembley as they came from behind to beat Wigan in a dramatic Championship play-off semi-final.

The striker took his tally for the season to 20 goals with a second-half equaliser and an extra-time winner to leave Harry Redknapp's side potentially 90 minutes from a return to the Premier League.

Wigan, who were held 0-0 at home in the first leg, had led from the ninth minute when James Perch prodded in a cross from James McClean.

Clearly a man for the big occasion, the goal was only Perch's second of the season – the other being the winner against Manchester City in the FA Cup which did send Wigan to Wembley.

Rangers squandered chance after chance to level but were thrown a lifeline in the 72nd minute when Junior Hoilett won a penalty which Austin converted.

And six minutes into extra time the former Burnley frontman struck again to book a winner-takes-all showdown with Derby on Saturday week.

Rangers survived a late scare when Rob Kiernan's shot was deflected inches wide off Richard Dunne in stoppage-time and they held out to secure a passage to Wembley and keep their promotion dream alive.

Irish Independent

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