QPR 0 Crystal Palace 0
By Ben Kosky NO need for explanations – it would have been entirely understandable if Paulo Sousa had leapt out of the technical area just to relieve his boredom. Sousa was sent to the stands by referee Scott Mathieson just before half-time after racing d
By Ben Kosky
NO need for explanations - it would have been entirely understandable if Paulo Sousa had leapt out of the technical area just to relieve his boredom.
Sousa was sent to the stands by referee Scott Mathieson just before half-time after racing down the touchline when Samuel Di Carmine had been sent flying for a second time by Palace defender Claude Davis.
Frankly, the dismissal of the QPR boss and the eagerly-anticipated return of Rowan Vine for the last quarter of an hour were the only redeeming features in yet another stultifying game involving the Rs - their 10th scoreless draw this season.
Goals looked a remote possibility for most of the afternoon and it was no surprise to hear a large number of frustrated Rangers fans questioning the wisdom of Dexter Blackstock's departure during the second half.
Di Carmine returned to the dressing-room at half-time with blood dripping from his face and Sousa, who became the first Rs boss to see red since Ian Holloway, said: "I can't understand - I care about my players a lot and I'm coming to see if he's all right.
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"If I don't care about my players what can I do? I'm jumping to look at what's happened and also [Palace manager] Neil Warnock was coming on to see what's happened."
Maybe Warnock, no stranger to controversy himself, was also trying to inject some excitement into a turgid first half that, apart from a few flickers of quality from Adel Taarabt, never caught fire.
The Moroccan midfielder beat two men and pinged a shot towards goal that surprised Eagles goalkeeper Julian Speroni, but he was alert enough to parry and gather the rebound before Liam Miller could pounce.
Miller also brought a near-post save from Speroni and the keeper was almost caught out on the other side when Di Carmine's cutback spun off Nathaniel Clyne in the direction of the bottom corner.
Palace, who matched Sousa's 4-5-1 formation, were unable to make much headway against Kaspars Gorkss and Matthew Connolly, and it wasn't until the start of the second half that Radek Cerny had to break sweat.
The keeper tipped over a Victor Moses drive and then dived to keep out Clyne's snap shot to his near post, but it was Rangers who carved out the better chances, such as they were.
Taarabt squandered a good one, blazing over after collecting Di Carmine's flick-on and racing clear of Davis, and then Vine - afforded a hero's welcome when he replaced Taarabt - almost completed a dream comeback.
Running onto Peter Ramage's pass, Vine hooked a cross-cum-shot that had Speroni scrambling to his right to collect - but that, despite a dubious penalty appeal for handball against Jose Fonte, was as close as Rangers got.
There were faint boos for Di Carmine as he left the field five minutes from time - less a reflection of the youngster's performance than what he represents, a ludicrous selection policy that is all about satisfying one man's bloated ego.
QPR: Cerny; Ramage, Connolly, GORKSS*, Delaney; Routledge, Leigertwood, Ephraim, Miller (Cook 45), Taarabt (Vine 74); Di Carmine (Balanta 85). Subs not used: Stewart, Alberti.