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QPR's cup run ended by Watford as Rs get stung by Hornets

PUBLISHED: 21:44 15 February 2019 | UPDATED: 21:44 15 February 2019

Queens Park Rangers' Jake Bidwell (left) and Watford's Will Hughes battle for the ball (pic: John Walton/PA)

Queens Park Rangers' Jake Bidwell (left) and Watford's Will Hughes battle for the ball (pic: John Walton/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

Emirates FA Cup fifth round: Queens Park Rangers 0 Watford 1 (Capoue 45+1)

Queens Park Rangers’ run in the FA Cup is over following a 1-0 defeat at home to Premier League side Watford in the fifth round.

The Rs were more than a match for the Hornets in the first half, but trailed at the break to a stoppage-time goal.

The west Londoners pressed on in search of a second-half equaliser, but never truly had the visiting defence in trouble as they failed to reach the quarter-finals.

Despite being beaten at Bristol City in the Sky Bet Championship on Tuesday night, QPR boss Steve McClaren opted to name an unchanged XI.

The Rs again fielded a 3-4-1-2 formation, meaning talented youngster Ebere Eze had to make do with a place on the bench once more as Matt Smith and Nahki Wells were preferred in attack.

Both starting keepers were celebrating their birthdays, with QPR’s Joe Lumley turning 24 and Heurelho Gomes of Watford turning 38.

In a cagey opening, the only moment of note came in the 12th minute when both Smith and marker Miguel Britos received treatment following a nasty clash of heads.

It took until the 27th minute for either side to see the first real sight of goal, with Hornets defender Daryl Janmaat prodding over the bar from just inside the area.

The Rs were gifted a chance two minutes later when Gomes’ punch from a corner fell to Luongo 25 yards out, but the Australia international’s half-volley went wide of the far post.

Smith nearly added to his brilliant scoring run in the 37th minute, but nodded a Luke Freeman cross from the right wide of near post, though he was ruled to have touched the ball from an offside position.

The west Londoners’ tails were up, with Freeman breaking forward at pace in the 40th minute, before dinking the ball into the path of Wells whose scuffed effort from 12 yards was turned behind for a corner by Gomes, though the set-piece came to nothing.

Despite all the chances, it was Watford who took the lead in the first minute of stoppage time at the end of a first half.

After a scrappy corner from the left, the ball eventually found Etienne Capoue who drilled one into the far corner to ensure it was the Hornets who stung first.

Coming so late in the opening period, it came as little surprise to see that goal be the final shot on target from either side in the first half as the Rs went in a goal down.

QPR startedthe second half brightly and were close to drawing level through Wells in the 63rd minute, but his left-footed shot from 25 yards did not have the curl needed to find the target.

From there, the Loftus Road club struggled to carve out clear chances while the Hornets seemed happy just to hold on to their one-goal advantage.

With four minutes to go, a Freeman free-kick sailed to Darnell Furlong at the back post.

The full-back played the ball back across goal with Toni Leistner arriving at the far post, but the home skipper was unable to turn it into the open net.

The Rs never saw another true opportunity, with referee Michael Oliver soon bringing their cup run to an end.

Attentions now return to the league, with McClaren’s men welcoming West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday night.

QPR (3-4-1-2): Lumley; Furlong, Leistner, Hall (Osayi-Samuel 85); Wszolek (Eze 76), Cousins, Luongo, Bidwell; Freeman; Wells (Hemed 71), Smith.

Subs: Ingram (GK), Scowen, Manning, Kakay.

Watford (4-4-2): Gomes (GK), Janmaat, Kabasele, Britos, Holebas; Hughes, Capoue, Cleverley (Quina 84), Sema (Mariappa 74); Deeney, Gray (Doucoure 74).

Subs: Dahlberg (GK), Deulofeu, Penaranda, Navarro.

Referee: Michael Oliver.

Attendance: 17,212 (including 2,654 Watford fans).

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