Sky Bet Championship: QPR 0 Norwich City 1
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
Queens Park Rangers had their five-game unbeaten run brought to a halt after falling to a narrow 1-0 defeat to Norwich City in their Championship clash.
A 70th-minute goal from Teemu Pukki sealed the three points for the Canaries against an R’s side who offered very little going forward at Loftus Road.
Manager Steve McClaren made three changes to the side that sealed a 2-0 victory against Millwall on Wednesday evening as Alex Baptiste, Josh Scowen and Tomer Hemed came in for Angel Rangel, Geoff Cameron and Jordan Cousins.
Cameron and Cousins were dropped to the bench while Rangel missed out through injury.
Meanwhile, Norwich boss Daniel Farke named an unchanged starting eleven from the one that sealed a 2-1 victory against Reading in midweek.
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The visitors got the first chance of the match with Marco Stiepermann firing a shot on target from the edge of the box after being picked out by Pukki but Joe Lumley saved it in the eighth minute.
Both sides searched for the opening goal but failed to create too much until the 21st minute when Todd Cantwell played the ball through to Jamal Lewis on the left.
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The left-back then threaded the ball across the goal with Pukki sliding in at the back post, but he couldn’t quite get on the end of it.
Cantwell and Pukki continued to cause problems for the QPR defence with the pair linking up before the later broke down the left and laid the ball back for Stiepermann but his effort was weak and failed to trouble Lumley.
QPR finally got a real chance of their own in the 39th minute when Nakhi Wells struck a shot on goal after linking up nicely with his strike partner Hemed.
But his low strike was easily saved by the former Newcastle United shot-stopper Tim Krul.
Three minutes later the hosts had another good chance with Luke Freeman curling a free-kick into the box ahead of the wall. Hemed broke clear from the pack and stretched himself out but couldn’t get on the end of it.
Both sides made lively starts to the second half but it was Norwich who got themselves on the front foot in the 51st minute when Pukki drove down the right flank, pulled back, picked out a passing lane and found Cantwell who sent his effort high over the bar.
In the 62nd minute, QPR keeper Lumley came flying out of his goal and headed the ball clear of Cantwell who was chasing it down rapidly.
Norwich finally broke the deadlock in the 70th minute when Pukki used his chest to turn the ball past Lumley and into the net from close range after a cross from Stiepermann was deflected into his path.
And they continued to pile the pressure on the Rs as they kept pumping balls into the box with an effort falling to Cantwell in the 75th minute but the midfielder scuffed the ball before recovering it and sending it wide to Alexander Tettey.
The Norwegian international tried a cheeky shot from the right flank but Lumley was there to grab hold of the ball.
Four minutes QPR finally started to push for an equaliser and Freeman decided to take it into his own hands as he went on a solo run before curling an effort on target from distance.
The former Arsenal youngster forced Krul to push the ball over the bar for a corner, but Rs played the set-piece short, and Norwich soon cleared it.
Substitute Bright Osayi-Samuel fired well over the bar in added time as the hosts pressed for an equaliser in the dying stages without reward.
QPR: Lumley, Baptiste (Cousins 76), Lynch, Leistner (Smith 86), Bidwell, Luongo, Scowen (Osayi-Samuel 76), Freeman, Eze, Hemed, Wells.
Unused subs: Ingram, Cameron, Wszolek, Kakay.
Norwich City: Krul, Zimmermann, Leitner (Trybull 89), Lewis, Klose, Buendia (Vrancic 67), Stipermann, Pukki (Rhodes 90), Tettey, Cantwell, Aarons.
Unused subs: McGovern, Godfrey, Srbeny, Thompson.