EFL

Hull stroll past QPR to keep slim Championship play-off hopes alive

By Sports Desk April 13, 2024

Hull kept alive their faint chances of reaching the Sky Bet Championship play-offs with a 3-0 win over QPR, who remain in deep relegation trouble.

Ozan Tufan’s wonderful solo effort from 20 yards and Fabio Carvalho’s cool one-on-one finish put the Tigers in control at the break.

Jaden Philogene then put the seal on a dominating home performance with a sweet half-volley after 52 minutes.

Hull, who were claiming just an eighth home victory of the season, are six points adrift of sixth-place Norwich – but with a game in hand.

QPR also have work to do, but for far differing reasons as they are now two points clear of the relegation zone.

With just one away league defeat since December 29, it was unsurprising that Marti Cifuentes’ men were quickly into the stride against a Hull side who have this season been hamstrung by their form at the MKM Stadium.

The visitors’ early vigour was, however, soon curtained when Tufan scored after eight minutes.

The Turkey international was firstly given too much space by Jimmy Dunne near the left-hand corner of the penalty area.

Dunne also seemed complacent to the danger when Tufan cut inside before striking fiercely with his right boot.

The ball screwed over the head of Asmir Begovic, battered the underside of the crossbar and landed into the top-right corner of the net.

QPR looked shell-shocked and never recovered.

And they might have gone further behind soon afterwards had Philogene and Carvalho not been guilty of poor decision-making in good areas.

Carvalho, though, impressively made amends after 27 minutes with a lovely second goal.

Tufan again played a key role with a cute first-time pass around the corner that outfoxed centre-backs Steve Cook and Jake Clarke-Salter.

Carvalho controlled beautifully and never looked like missing from the edge of the penalty box once Begovic came rushing too far off his line.

QPR brought on Reggie Cannon and Paul Smyth at the break, and the double substitution nearly yielded immediate dividends when the latter somehow headed wide Illias Chair’s cross from close range.

But Rangers’ slim hopes of getting back into the game sailed into the River Humber when Philogene scored another excellent goal once Tufan’s free-kick was partially headed clear by Sam Field.

The former Aston Villa winger, 10 yards out toward the left of box, showed laudable composure to cushion a textbook half-volley into the right of the goal.

QPR might have added a consolation soon afterwards when Jacob Graves cleared off Hull’s line after Chair waltzed past two defends and goalkeeper Ryan Allsop.

Yet that was as good as it got for Rangers, who will need to improve markedly to avoid a nervous end to the season.

Hull, who nearly scored a fourth when substitute Liam Delap’s 76th-minute lob was headed off the line by Cannon, could also be set for a dramatic finish to the campaign on this evidence.

Related items

  • Euro 2024 data dive: Pedri matches Ronaldo feat, Hjulmand stunner denies England Euro 2024 data dive: Pedri matches Ronaldo feat, Hjulmand stunner denies England

    Thursday's action at Euro 2024 brought our first group winners in Spain, and plenty of frustration for England.

    Before La Roja clinched top spot in Group B by overcoming Italy, the Three Lions were pegged back in a 1-1 draw with Denmark, who were arguably unfortunate not to win the game. 

    Despite an underwhelming performance, Gareth Southgate's team remain in control of Group C with four points, after Slovenia and Serbia drew 1-1 earlier in the day.

    Here, we round up the standout stats from Thursday's action.

    Slovenia 1-1 Serbia: Jovic rescues last-gasp draw

    The early kick-off delivered yet another late twist as Slovenia were denied a landmark victory at the European Championships with the last kick of the game in Munich. 

    Having seen efforts by Aleksandar Mitrovic and Dusan Vlahovic repelled by the imperious figure of Jan Oblak, Serbia found themselves behind as Zan Karnicnik's goal put Slovenia on the cusp of their first-ever win at the Euros. 

    However, Luka Jovic had other ideas. The Milan striker rose the highest from another Serbia corner, heading the ball beyond Oblak to score the latest result-altering goal in a Euros match of all-time (excluding extra time), with his equaliser timed at exactly 95 minutes. 

    The result keeps both side's chances of making the last 16 of the competition alive, but for Slovenia, it could have been a memorable day in Munich. 

    Matjaz Kek's side remain winless at the Euros from their five matches (four draws, one loss). Karnicnik's opener was just the second time they had gone ahead in a game at the competition; the last time they did so was during a 3-3 draw with Yugoslavia at Euro 2000. 

    But for all of Serbia's attacking intent, their lack of clinical edge in the final third proved costly despite their late goal. Just four of their 15 shots were on target, with talisman Mitrovic having an afternoon to forget. 

    With his six shots in the match, Mitrovic had the most of any player in a single game at Euro 2024.

    With the Al-Hilal striker having failed to find the back of the net, it means the last four players to have more than six shots at a European Championships have not scored - the other three coming at Euro 2020. 

    Denmark 1-1 England: Scrutiny piles on Southgate

    While the other game in Group C finished with the same scoreline, the encounter will not be remembered in a hurry, in particular for England fans. 

    Harry Kane opened the scoring in Frankfurt. His opener was his fifth goal at the Euros, becoming the first England player and eighth player overall to score five or more goals at both the men's World Cup and European Championships.

    He also became the third man to score at four different major international tournaments for England, along with Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney.

    But Morten Hjulmand equalised with what was his first goal for Denmark in all competitions (in his ninth appearance). It was also Denmark's ninth goal from outside the box at the European Championship, with only three teams netting more on record (since 1980 – Germany 15, Netherlands 12, France 11).

     

    Denmark's leveller was the eighth goal England have conceded from outside the box at the Euros. No side has conceded more on record in the history of the competition (since 1980, Portugal are level with the Three Lions).

    There have been 13 goals scored from outside the box at Euro 2024, already more than there were in the entire group stages of Euro 2020 (12).

    England have now won just two of their last eight competitive meetings with Denmark (four draws, two losses), having won each of their first four such games against them.

    Spain 1-0 Italy: Pedri matches Ronaldo feat, unwanted history for Cristante

    In the final game of the day, Spain produced another dominant performance to clinch top spot in Group B with a 1-0 win over defending champions Italy.

    Riccardo Calafiori's second-half own goal made the difference, the defender becoming the first Azzurri player to ever put through his own net in a European Championship match.

    He is also just the second Italian to score an own goal at a major tournament (World Cup/Euros) overall, after Cristian Zaccardo versus the United States at the 2006 FIFA World Cup, which Italy won on German soil.

    If they are to lift more silverware in Berlin next month, they will need a dramatic improvement, having attempted just four shots in a tame performance on Thursday – their fewest on record (since 1980) in any match at the Euros.

    Spain, on the other hand, look like genuine contenders after following up their 3-0 thrashing of Croatia with another deserved victory. They have won their first two games of a European Championship tournament to nil for just the second time, previously doing so in 2016 (1-0 versus Czechia, 3-0 against Turkiye).

    Fabian Ruiz produced an energetic performance in the heart of La Roja's midfield, winning possession in the final third on six occasions, the most by any player in a Euros match since David Silva in a 2008 quarter-final between Spain and Italy (also six).

    Team-mate Pedri, meanwhile, kept things ticking over on his 12th major tournament appearance for Spain (World Cup/Euros). 

    That is the joint-most by any European player while aged 21 or younger, alongside Cristiano Ronaldo, who played 12 times for Portugal at Euro 2004 and the 2006 World Cup.

    There was a piece of unwanted history for an Italy midfielder, though, as Bryan Cristante received a yellow card just 20 seconds after coming off the bench at the start of the second half, the quickest booking for a substitute on record at the Euros (since 1980).

  • Euro 2024 social round-up: Mbappe masked-up, Carragher questions Southgate Euro 2024 social round-up: Mbappe masked-up, Carragher questions Southgate

    The second matches in each of Group B and Group C have now been completed at Euro 2024.

    Spain beat Italy 1-0 in the late match on Thursday, ensuring their progression into the last 16 as Group B victors.

    Both Group C matches were drawn, with Serbia scoring late on against Slovenia, while England were held 1-1 by Denmark, with Gareth Southgate's team coming in for some criticism.

    Meanwhile, Kylian Mbappe has a new look.

    Here, we wrap up the best social posts from Euro 2024.

    Critical Carra questions Southgate

    Southgate is facing plenty of scrutiny after two underwhelming England performances, even if the Three Lions are topping Group C.

    Jamie Carragher was among the pundits to question England's manager, as the former Liverpool defender posted on X: "Pleased Southgate has made changes, as by the look of England so far they are going to need real energy from the bench in every game. Disappointed Anthony Gordon wasn't one of those changes."

    Carragher subsequently posted that, while Euro 2024 has been a thrilling tournament so far, two of the poorer matches involved England. It's hard to argue with him, too.

    The Serbian shuffle

    Serbia kept their hopes alive by snatching a point late on against Slovenia.

    And beforehand, their fans were enjoying the atmosphere - and a little dance - in Munich.

    Kane catching up

    England's performance left a lot to be desired in their 1-1 draw with Denmark, though Harry Kane did get on the scoresheet.

    He has now scored five Euros goals, behind only Alan Shearer (seven) and Wayne Rooney (six) for the Three Lions.

    "We know we can be better"

    Kane held his hands up after full-time, acknowledging in an Instagram post that England's players know they can improve.

    But the captain was quick to point out their result against Denmark, adding it was "a tough point earned against a good side."

    He concluded: "Let’s keep improving from here!"

    When sports collide

    Denmark have plenty of support in Germany, given the Scandinavian nation shares a border with the host country of Euro 2024.

    And one of those in the crowd cheering on Kasper Hjulmand's team in Frankfurt against England was former world number one tennis star, Caroline Wozniacki.

    Plenty of passion, but no points

    Luciano Spalletti and Gianluigi Buffon belted out the Italian national anthem ahead of the Azzurri's clash with Spain.

    Unfortunately for them, their passion did not equate to a positive result. 

    Hats off

    There's always plenty of fancy dress at major tournaments.

    And a Spanish fan and a Italian fan took their hardware to a different level ahead of Thursday's contest in Gelsenkirchen...

    Masked Mbappe

    It looks as though Mbappe will indeed be fit to feature for France against the Netherlands on Friday, despite breaking his nose against Austria.

    Didier Deschamps confirmed that, if the superstar forward does play, it will be with a mask, and Mbappe gave us a sneak peak of what that will look like when he stepped out to train in Leipzig.

    It looks to be a personalised mask in the colours of the French flag.

  • Spain 1-0 Italy: Calafiori own goal wins Group B for brilliant Roja Spain 1-0 Italy: Calafiori own goal wins Group B for brilliant Roja

    Spain clinched top spot in Group B at Euro 2024 with Riccardo Calafiori's own goal handing them a thoroughly deserved 1-0 win over defending champions Italy.

    Four days on from their statement 3-0 victory over Croatia, Luis de la Fuente's team produced another dominant display and should have won by a far greater margin in Gelsenkirchen.

    Some excellent goalkeeping from Gianluigi Donnarumma and wasteful finishing from Pedri kept Italy level until early in the second half, when Calafiori put through his own net.

    Luciano Spalletti's side hardly laid a glove on their opponents after that, and they now need to avoid defeat against Croatia on Monday to be certain of their place in the last 16.

    Spain, meanwhile, have the luxury of being able to rotate against Albania on matchday three, ahead of facing a third-place finisher in the last 16.

    Nico Williams teed up Pedri for an early shot that was brilliantly saved by Donnarumma before somehow heading wide when picked out unmarked by Alvaro Morata.

    La Roja kept the pressure on, but they found Donnarumma in inspired form. 

    The goalkeeper stood firm to keep out Morata's near-post strike before getting a fingertip to Fabian Ruiz's rasping drive to turn it over the crossbar. 

    Seven minutes into the second half, Spain created their best chance yet as Marc Cucurella got forward on the underlap to square for Pedri, who failed to sort his feet out and side-footed wide from eight yards out. 

    They finally made the breakthrough three minutes later, but it came via an Azzurri player as Donnarumma tipped Morata's header against the unfortunate Calafiori.

    Lamine Yamal went close with a curling effort from outside the area, then Williams almost scored one of the goals of the tournament, a mazy run down the left ending with a thunderous strike that left the crossbar shaking.

    Spain held Italy at arm's length in the closing stages and should have added a second goal in stoppage time, only for Donnarumma to deny Ayoze Perez with a fine one-on-one save. 

    Azzurri fall well short

    Many expected to see Italy go toe-to-toe with Spain in a battle of two high-pressing, possession-focused sides. Instead, La Roja made it one of the most one-sided games of the tournament to date.

    Italy's first shot of any kind came via Federico Chiesa in first-half stoppage time, with their only attempt on target arriving when Bryan Cristante headed straight at Unai Simon four minutes from full-time.

    Overall, they attempted just four shots worth 0.22 expected goals (xG), with Spain registering 1.9 xG from 20 attempts.

    Italy's woes were compounded when Calafiori put through his own net, becoming the first Italian to score an own goal at the Euros and just the second to do so at a major tournament, after Cristian Zaccardo against the United States in the 2006 World Cup.

    The Azzurri, of course, won that tournament on German soil 18 years ago, but they looked a long way off Spain, who have now benefitted from four own goals from opposition players at the Euros, the joint most in the competition's history, alongside France. 

    Williams the catalyst for Spain

    It was Yamal who took the headlines for Spain in their win over Croatia, the 16-year-old becoming the youngest player to feature in a Euros match and marking the occasion with an assist.

    On Wednesday, it was his opposite winger Williams who did the damage. 

    When the in-demand 21-year-old was substituted in the 78th minute, he led all players on the pitch for chances created (four), dribbles attempted (11) and completed (four, alongside Yamal) and touches in the opposition area (eight).

    Williams was also heavily involved in the build-up to the goal and was desperately unlucky not to get on the scoresheet himself when he rattled the woodwork.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.