- English League Cup
- Tuesday, August 13th 2019
- Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium
|Queens Park Rangers||3|
James Crawley reports from Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium
Report: QPR 3-3 Bristol City (5-4 penalties)
Tuesday, August 13th 2019
Stunning goals from Jack Hunt and Liam Walsh weren’t enough to see City through to the second round of the Carabao Cup, with QPR holding their nerve in a penalty shootout.
Supporters witnessed a six-goal thriller with the scores poised at 3-3 after 90 minutes at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium.
But Famara Diédhiou and Niclas Eliasson couldn’t convert from 12 yards before two big saves from Daniel Bentley took it to sudden death, though Bailey Wright’s decisive effort was saved.
It was goals galore in an opening 45 minutes, starting with Diédhiou’s first goal of the season when he rounded the R's keeper.
The hosts, unbeaten in their opening two games up to this point, fought back with strikes from Nahki Wells and Ilias Chair, before a thunderbolt of a goal from the advancing Hunt.
With the two Championship rivals in a cup-tie deadlock, up stepped Walsh with a 30-yard free kick, which sailed into the top corner of Liam Kelly’s goal.
It was a strike worthy of winning any match but Rangers struck from the penalty spot in normal time, Manning’s spot-kick just beating Bentley, to take the game to the decisive penalty shootout.
Lee Johnson named eight changes from Saturday’s trip to Birmingham City, with further competitive debuts for Han-Noah Massengo and Sammie Szmodics. There were first season starts for Walsh, Eliasson and Antoine Semenyo too, with freshness the key amid a heavy footballing schedule.
Though that could always present match sharpness issues this early into the season and certainly QPR had City on the backfoot in the early exchanges. However, their threats were nothing to trouble the Robins too seriously, with Wells seeing a shot deflected for a corner and Tony Leistner glanced wide.
But with the Robins faithful in loud voice, the City players soon settled and went close when Hunt was deployed on the overlap. Somehow, his low cross managed to avoid every player in the box.
Though Johnson’s men were ahead soon after when Semenyo slid in his forward partner Diédhiou, who calmly took the ball around Kelly in the R’s goal and netted from a tight angle.
The joy wouldn’t last long however with the hosts level minutes later. The Hoops were right back into the game courtesy of Wells’ first-time strike which picked out the far corner.
Now Mark Warburton’s side were showing signs of encouragement and tested City’s backline further, with Taylor Moore and Daniel Bentley forced to block efforts from Marc Pugh and Chair, respectively.
And City fell behind as Rangers continued to pour forward, this time Well and Pugh combined before a squared pass fell to the unmarked Chair who tucked the ball home.
But the first half goals weren’t done there, as Hunt stepped up with one of the goals of the first round. Walsh was the playmaker who pinged a pass to the right where Hunt cut inside and with his left foot arrowed an unstoppable shot into the top corner to draw the visitors level at the break.
The second half started slower but the home side went close to grabbing a third soonest, with Bentley doing well to palm away a low cross from Ryan Manning, though Chair was alert to the rebound but couldn’t steer the ball on target.
But it would be City to go in front with another contender for goal of round one, this time it was Walsh with 30-yard strike. The Robins won a free kick through summer signing Massengo, who had been busy on his first appearance, and up stepped Walsh who found the top left corner.
Johnson soon made a double substitution with changes at both ends of the pitch; Callum O’Dowda and Nathan Baker on in place of Semenyo and Hunt, respectively, as he looked to tighten his grip on the tie.
Warburton looked to get side forward and would have hoped for better after Manning picked out the run of Wells but the striker’s header lacked conviction and was an easy claim for Bentley, while at other end – in front of the 800 travelling supporters – Diédhiou went close but couldn’t keep a header on target from an Eliasson cross.
On came Ádám Nagy in Johnson’s final change with Szmodics replaced as Rangers pushed for an equaliser. There was a loud penalty claim when Manning advanced into the penalty area and went down under a challenge but referee Andy Davies was not interested in the appeals.
City would have the crossbar to thank as the game reached its final embers, Bentley was beaten but fortunately Wells’ effort crashed back into play though appeals for another penalty were given shortly after.
Davies judged a foul on Wells this time and Manning stepped up to take the resulting spot kick, steering the ball into the right corner via the post.
Full-time and the resulting penalty shootout followed, confirming City’s exit from the Carabao Cup. The two sides meet again in just four day’s time, with Johnson’s team hosting the R’s at Ashton Gate in the Sky Bet Championship on Saturday (August 17th, 3pm KO).
Queens Park Rangers
- Wells (15') , Chair (26') , Manning (86' pen)
- Todd Kane, Josh Scowen, Marc Pugh
- Diédhiou (13') , Hunt (41') , Walsh (59')
- Jack Hunt, Sammie Szmodics, Antoine Semenyo