Jelavic scores twice as Everton end QPR’s FA Cup interest

Nikica Jelavic celebrates his goal against QPR, who are interested in signing the Everton striker

Nikica Jelavic celebrates his goal against QPR, who are interested in signing the Everton striker - Credit: EMPICS Sport

FA Cup third round: Everton 4 QPR 0

Nikica Jelavic chose a timely moment to provide a reminder of his quality as the Everton striker’s brace helped knock QPR out of the FA Cup at Goodison Park.

Harry Redknapp is keen to tie up a deal for the Croatia international, with representatives of the two clubs meeting on Saturday in an attempt to thrash out the terms of a move to Loftus Road.

Jelavic has endured a difficult season on Merseyside, losing his place to Romelu Lukaku and failing to find the net in 12 appearances before this match. The 28-year-old knows he needs regular first-team football to secure his place at next summer’s World Cup, and he responded with a double to help send Redknapp’s lifeless Rangers out of the competition.

After Ross Barkley opened the scoring in the first half, a mistake by Karl Henry allowed Jelavic to thrash home his first, and he added another in the second half, converting Brian Oviedo’s cross.

Jelavic then missed the chance to complete his hat-trick, chipping a penalty against the crossbar, before the hugely impressive Seamus Coleman curled in a fourth for Roberto Martinez’s side.

For QPR, it was a stark reminder of the quality of the Premier League, and if Redknapp’s side do achieve a return to the top flight they will have to produce better performances than this one.

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Redknapp named a strong team, and handed Brazil goalkeeper Cesar his first for almost eight months. Cesar last appeared for Rangers in April 2013 – coincidentally, a 2-0 defeat at Goodison. Cesar was set for a busy afternoon, saving from Coleman, Barkley and Jelavic inside the opening 20 minutes as Everton set up camp in the QPR half.

An opening goal for the hosts seemed inevitable, and Barkley was the man who supplied it just past the half-hour mark. The young midfielder exchanged passes with Oviedo, before cracking a shot from just inside the area across Cesar and into the bottom corner.

Their defence having finally given way, QPR then handed Everton their second goal on a plate. Henry gave the ball to Jelavic 30 yards out, and he cracked a powerful shot just inside the post.

With QPR so lifeless in the first half, Redknapp replaced Traore with the more attacking Niko Kranjcar, who was charged with providing support for Charlie Austin in attack.

But the momentum remained with Everton, and only a fine save from Cesar prevented a third goal. Gary O’Neil gave the ball away from midfield, and Coleman beat Simpson to the ball to curl a shot towards the bottom corner which Cesar tipped away for a corner.

It was a brief reprieve for QPR, as the third goal arrived on 68 minutes. Oviedo whipped in a cross form the left, and Jelavic prodded past Cesar. Jelavic was then handed the chance to complete his hat-trick, as Oviedo went down under Nedum Onuoha’s challenge. He spurned the opportunity, however, chipping his spot-kick against the face of the crossbar.

But still Everton poured forward. Oviedo found Coleman on the right of the area, and he curled a delicious shot into the top corner via Cesar’s fingertips to make it 4-0.

Jelavic somehow failed to complete his treble, seeing his late shot cleared off the line.

QPR: Cesar, Simpson, Traore (Kranjcar), Hill, Onuoha, Assou-Ekotto, Phillips, Barton, Henry (Johnson), O’Neil, Austin (Benayoun). Subs: Murphy, Dunne, Johnson, Onyewu, Kranjcar, Zamora, Benayoun.

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