Eze goal in vain as QPR fail in bid to blunt Blades
PUBLISHED: 16:56 11 August 2018 | UPDATED: 16:56 11 August 2018
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Sky Bet Championship: Queens Park Rangers 1 (Eze 29) Sheffield United 2 (Sharp 43, McGoldrick 65p)
Queens Park Rangers remain on the lookout for their first points of the new Sky Bet Championship season after going down 2-1 at home to Sheffield United.
In a fairly even opening 45 minutes, the lively Ebere Eze opened the scoring for the Rs, but Billy Sharp levelled for the Blades just before the break.
The game’s winner came in controversial circumstances midway through the second half, with David McGoldrick winning a soft penalty for the visitors, before converting from 12 yards.
In his first competitive match at Loftus Road as QPR boss, McClaren made two changes to his side following last weekend’s defeat at Preston North End.
Paul Smyth and Idrissa Sylla came into starting XI at the expense of Bright Osayi-Samuel and Matt Smith, who both dropped to the bench.
It took until the 20th minute for either keeper to be properly tested, with Rs custodian Matt Ingram taking a hold of a dipping 25-yard volley from John Fleck.
Two minutes later, Eze had Blades keeper Dean Henderson at full stretch with a volley from the edge of the area.
Eze was at it again in the 27th minute, testing Henderson from 10 yards following a superb counter-attack by the hosts led by Luke Freeman.
The 20-year-old was clearly undeterred and made it third time lucky when grabbing the first goal of the McClaren era with 16 minutes left in the half.
A cross from the left by Jake Bidwell was only cleared as far as Eze on the edge of the box, and the QPR forward drilled to ball low past Henderson and into the net.
Eze certainly looked in the mood in the first half as he went close to a second in the 39th minute, but fired just wide of the far post from a position on the left of the box.
That miss would prove costly for the Loftus Road club, who conceded in the 43rd minute when Sharp turned in a Kieron Freeman ball from the right.
Sharp’s strike was the last real chance of the half as the sides headed down the tunnel level.
QPR were a touch fortunate not to fall behind just three minutes after the restart, though, when only a fine save from Ingram prevented Leon Clarke from scoring after the defence granted the Blades striker too much room in the box.
With 25 minutes remaining, the Rs were left bemused by referee Scott Duncan’s decision to award the visitors a spot kick for an apparent push on McGoldrick in the box.
McGoldrick stepped up to take the spot kick and sent Ingram the wrong way to give Chris Wilder’s men the advantage.
The west Londoners nearly produced a swift response, with Eze drawing a good save from Henderson with a 25-yard effort two minutes later.
Eze was involved again in the 76th minute, dinking the ball to Massimo Luongo on the penalty spot, but the Australia international’s free header was off target.
Everything good the Rs were doing seemed to be going through Eze, who saw an effort from 20 yards parried away by Henderson three minutes later.
In the final minute of normal time, a powerful effort from Josh Scowen could only be palmed away by Henderson, before the Blades cleared.
Try as they might, QPR could not find an equaliser as they suffered a second straight defeat in the league.
McClaren will hope a change in competition sees a change in luck, with the Rs hosting Peterborough United in the Carabao Cup first round on Tuesday night.
QPR (4-2-3-1): Ingram; Kakay (Washington 88), Leistner, Lynch, Bidwell; Scowen, Luongo; Freeman, Eze, Smyth (Osayi-Samuel 46); Sylla (Smith 69).
Subs: Lumley (GK), Cousins, Manning, Baptiste.
Sheff Utd (3-4-1-2): Henderson; Egan, Stearman, O’Connell; Freeman, Basham, Fleck, Stevens; Duffy (Woodburn 70), Clarke, Sharp (McGoldrick 64 (Leonard 82)).
Subs: Moore (GK), Lundstram, Lafferty, Norrington-Davies.
Referee: Scott Duncan.
Attendance: 14,128 (including 1,969 Sheffield United fans).