QPR head coach Marti Cifuentes admits he was “disappointed” not to secure victory as his side had to settle for a goalless draw against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.

Neither goalkeeper had much to do throughout the afternoon and the biggest chances of the game fell to the visitors, with their best opportunity falling to Chris Willock in the 87th minute.

Sinclair Armstrong played a low ball to the unmarked Willock in the box, but goalkeeper Anthony Patterson made a superb save and Cifuentes believes his side provided enough to at least score one goal.

“The game was more or less what we wanted, we didn’t allow Sunderland to get a shot on goal for 95 minutes,” the QPR boss said.

“I don’t think we created as much as we would have liked, but maybe enough to get a goal, or at least two goals. I think Patterson was great in saving two situations.

“(They were) very good saves, but overall very disappointed about not getting the victory.”

QPR had chances from Ilias Chair and Lucas Andersen in the first half, but the introduction of Armstrong after the break provided more spark.

He was denied three times by Patterson in the second half and Cifuentes hailed the forward’s importance to the team.

Cifuentes said: “It was a game where we were thinking the whole week if he should start the game or not.

“When he comes on as a sub he has a great impact in these games with the big pitch, perhaps the defensive lines who try to play higher on the pitch and I think he did a great job.”

A point ended Sunderland’s run of six successive Sky Bet Championship defeats, but they were unable to threaten the QPR defence much throughout the match.

The injury-hit Black Cats had half-chances from Adil Aouchiche and Dan Neil, but interim head coach Mike Dodds believes his side showed “no real quality” in the match.

“People are going to say it’s a point and it stops the chain of events we’ve had for the last six games, but the performance I was really disappointed with,” Dodds said.

“Both first half and second half I felt we huffed and puffed but had no real quality in the game.

“I’ve got to keep working with them, they’re a group that need help. A large part of that responsibility is myself.

“I think you will naturally get some help when you get bodies back, but I thought that was a real naive performance.

“I think in the last four games I’ve sat here in probably three of them and tried not to spin positives, but tried to look at pockets of the game which I really liked.

“There wasn’t a huge amount that I liked about that game.

“We’re going to have some bodies back for Easter weekend, everyone can see that will be a huge boost for the group.”

Leicester manager Enzo Maresca said his team will need to be mentally strong after losing the last three Championship games and seeing their lead at the top of the table cut to just three points.

QPR produced a shock result at the King Power Stadium as goals from Ilias Chair and Sinclair Armstrong earned them a 2-1 win that boosts their hopes of avoiding relegation.

Leicester pulled a back through defender Ben Nelson’s first senior goal but they could not find an equaliser and both Ipswich and Leeds are closing in on the leaders.

“It’s a bad feeling. In the last three defeats, we dominated with the chances but the most important thing is to score goals. We lacked quality in the last third,” said Maresca.

“I don’t think it was a matter of being nervous, I didn’t have this feeling from the players. With 11 games to go, we need to finish in the best way.

“It’s been long time since we have been at the top and everyone is chasing us, we can’t think about that, we just need to win games.

“When you drop points and the rest win, you see yourself that they are coming, but we need balance at the moment. You cannot be so happy or so sad.

“If you get too nervous it could be dangerous, if you relax, it could be dangerous. You have to be mentally strong because we have a game in three days (at Sunderland).”

QPR manager Marti Cifuentes praised his players, but said a “great escape” is still not complete after a third successive win, which only lifted them one place up the table and leaves them outside the bottom three only on goal difference.

“We performed at a really high level against a team that is extremely good. They are a very good side with a fantastic coach and I’m sure they will go up despite the last three defeats,” said Cifuentes.

“All the credit to the players because they were very well organised for a long time. We were clinical as we had to be.

“I thought Leicester would be more dangerous and angry after the last two defeats.

“It was an important win for us, but I’m not getting carried away with a victory. The reality is the table shows we are still in a big battle. To get out and achieve this great escape, there is still a lot more to be done.”

Cifuentes praised Chair for opening the scoring. The Morocco international has continued to feature amid reports he faces a year in prison after being found guilty in Belgium of assault, with QPR saying on February 23 that “the legal proceeding is yet to reach its conclusion”.

The Spanish coach added: “I am very pleased with Ilias and the rest of the players so I am not talking much about other things that the club had already commented on. I am pleased about his goal and he is a very important player for us.”

Cifuentes was also delighted with 20-year-old forward Armstrong, who scored with his first touch after coming on as a 57th-minute substitute.

“It was a fantastic first touch, a fantastic way to start the game for him, he gave us exactly what we were looking for,” he said.

Leicester’s lead at the top of the Championship has been cut to just three points with 11 games to go after relegation-threatened QPR claimed a surprise 2-1 victory at the King Power Stadium.

Goals from Ilias Chair and substitute Sinclair Armstrong – who scored with his first touch after coming on just before the hour – earned improving Rangers their third successive victory.

The Foxes quickly pulled a goal back through teenage defender Ben Nelson but they could not find an equaliser as they slumped to a third league defeat in a row, with second-placed Ipswich Town now closing in on them.

The result was a valuable one for QPR, but lifted them just one place up the table and they remain outside the bottom three on goal difference.

Leicester began the game boosted by promotion rivals Leeds drawing at struggling Huddersfield, but they suffered an early blow when midfielder Dennis Praet had to come off injured after 15 minutes, Yunus Akgun taking his place.

Enzo Maresca’s side dominated possession and Harry Winks came close to opening the scoring when he curled a shot just wide of the far post from 20 yards out.

QPR full-back Kenneth Paal then stopped Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall putting Leicester ahead after 26 minutes when he turned away a cross from Yunus for a corner.

But Rangers soaked up the pressure and broke away to take the lead after 38 minutes. Chris Willock advanced on the right-hand side and found Lyndon Dykes whose cross was met by Chair and he squeezed the ball just inside the post.

Armstrong came on as a 57th-minute substitute for QPR and made an immediate impact to give Marti Cifuentes’ side a two-goal lead.

Jimmy Dunne’s header found Sam Field in the penalty area and he stopped the ball before Armstrong followed up to score with a powerful drive.

Leicester pulled a goal back three minutes later to give themselves a lifeline.

Stephy Mavididi rolled a free-kick to Dewsbury-Hall and although his shot was pushed out by Rangers goalkeeper Asmir Begovic, Leicester defender Nelson followed up to clip the ball in.

It was the 19-year-old’s first senior goal and gave his side some hope of forcing their way back into the game.

With 21 minutes left, Abdul Fatawu cut in from the right and curled a shot just over the bar, as he tried a repeat of his winning goal in the midweek FA Cup tie at Bournemouth.

But Leicester struggled to break the Rangers defence down and could not force an equaliser.

Chair had a chance of a third goal for QPR in stoppage time, but he put his shot wide with only Leicester goalkeeper Mads Hermansen to beat.

Leicester’s final chance to level the scores disappeared when Winks had a shot charged down.

The game was reminiscent of Leicester’s previous home game against Middlesbrough when they also went two goals behind and could not recover.

But some Foxes players surrounded the match officials at the final whistle as they claimed a late penalty should have been given in their favour.

QPR boss Marti Cifuentes is preparing for a vital match against fellow strugglers Huddersfield after his side ended their winless run by beating Millwall.

A 2-0 success at Loftus Road was Rangers’ first victory in eight Sky Bet Championship matches and lifted them up a place, to third from bottom.

And it means they will climb out of the relegation zone if they beat Huddersfield – the team immediately above them – next weekend.

Cifuentes said: “We need to keep on working. Today we are very happy, but we know that we have a very important game next week here again.

“We need to be very focused on the task. The next target is to win against Huddersfield.

“Enjoy the victory today – it was very important for us – and from tomorrow start to prepare for a massive game against Huddersfield at home. Feet on the ground and keep on working.

“I’m aware that no matter what the result next week it is going to be a huge task. It’s an important game but, step by step, we need to get a lot of victories, not just next week.”

Rangers struggled to create clear-cut chances before Chair broke the deadlock in the 27th minute.

They defended well and their win was sealed by Sinclair Armstrong netting a late second.

Cifuentes added: “In all the games that we’ve played, we never gave up and I never felt – even in the worst games we played – that the team was accepting the defeat.

“We have been close in all the games since I took over. We’ve always been in games but haven’t had the clinical touch.

“Today we did, and that made things easier. You could feel the tension, London derby, but definitely the first goal gave us the calm that we needed and from there we played at a very good level.

“Today’s victory was a consequence of a lot of small things we have been doing well over the last few games but unfortunately not getting the points.”

Millwall boss Joe Edwards admitted that his team’s disappointing performance felt like a step backwards.

The Lions won three matches in a row soon after Edwards’ recent appointment but have now suffered back-to-back league defeats.

“In pretty much every department we were not good enough and that’s incredibly frustrating,” Edwards said.

“It can be really frustrating when it feels like there’s a lot of good work going on, good performances, progress and signs we’re building, and then today out of nowhere you have a performance like that.

“QPR are in a difficult position and they came out fighting, particularly in the second half, and we couldn’t match it.

“The flow of our attacks in recent weeks – we’ve been ripping through teams and today we didn’t do that.

“Today we became predictable very early on and I’m not sure why. QPR grew into the game, whereas we just got stuck in our half and played predictable football, which was absolutely not our plan.

“QPR didn’t start well and we settled quickly, but it was like that lulled us into a false sense of security. We were then unable to break into any kind of intensity.”

Goals from Ilias Chair and Sinclair Armstrong gave relegation-threatened QPR a vital 2-0 win over Millwall at Loftus Road.

It was Rangers’ first victory in eight Sky Bet Championship matches and lifted them up a place, to third from bottom.

And it means they will move level on points with Huddersfield, the team immediately above them in the table, if they beat the Terriers in another crucial game next weekend.

In a feisty London derby, both teams struggled to create clear-cut chances before Chair put Rangers ahead in the 27th minute with his third goal of the season.

Lyndon Dykes, usually a striker but currently operating in a withdrawn role, played a big part in the build-up.

Dykes controlled the ball nicely and laid it to the right to Chris Willock, who turned away from Joe Bryan and delivered a left-footed cross to the far post, where Chair bundled home from close range after getting in front of Millwall’s on-loan Arsenal youngster Brooke Norton-Cuffy.

QPR continued to threaten after the goal and Willock fired over – again after turning away from Bryan – before Dykes’ side-footed effort flashed narrowly wide.

Millwall’s first real sight of goal came a couple of minutes before half-time, when Billy Mitchell sent a first-time strike over the bar after being found by Zian Flemming’s cross from the left.

Rangers were back on the front foot after the interval, with Dykes heading wide from Willock’s cross and then testing keeper Matija Sarkic with a low shot which was well saved.

And the hosts appealed in vain for a penalty when Wes Harding blocked Dykes’ shot with his hands.

Rangers then had a let-off of their own when keeper Asmir Begovic allowed Mitchell’s shot to squirm through his legs and was rescued by Reggie Cannon’s clearance off the line.

Cannon took a heavy knock in the process and as he lay on the ground the defender appeared to be struck by a number of objects thrown from the away fans’ section of the ground.

That was the closest Millwall came to an equaliser – and there was no way back for them after Armstrong’s 85th-minute goal.

Chair teed up Jack Colback and, after Sarkic failed to hold the veteran midfielder’s left-footed shot, Armstrong was on hand to tuck away the loose ball.

Millwall, who recently won three matches in a row under new boss Joe Edwards, have now suffered back-to-back defeats.

Bournemouth produced a stunning second-half comeback to beat QPR 3-2 and reach the fourth round of the FA Cup.

The Championship strugglers scored two goals in quick succession before the break through Sinclair Armstrong and Lyndon Dykes at Loftus Road.

But the Cherries came out after half-time firing and goals from Marcus Tavernier, Kieffer Moore and Justin Kluivert secured their seventh win in nine matches in all competitions.

QPR looked to strike early in the 10th minute. Andre Dozzell turned his man in midfield and combined with Dykes before his cross was too high for the striker to get on the end of.

The hosts continued their positive start in the 15th minute when Dykes forced Mark Travers into action.

Paul Smyth showed blistering pace to beat his marker and his cross onto the head of Dykes was denied by the acrobatic Travers, who got down quickly at his right post.

The Cherries started to warm into the tie and they went close after 21 minutes when Philip Billing’s driven shot across goal narrowly missed the target.

Bournemouth struggled up to that point but a moment of brilliance from Billing to retrieve the ball off Luis Sinisterra, dribble and get a shot off highlighted their Premier League quality.

But it was the Championship side who scored first after 40 minutes.

A searching ball forward found Armstrong with his back facing Bournemouth’s goal on halfway. The striker turned Marcos Senesi with ease and glided through on goal where he produced a placed finish into the bottom-right corner.

And straight after the restart in the 42nd minute Dykes got the goal he deserved and Rangers stormed into a 2-0 lead.

The attacker cut inside from the left and his long-range effort took a heavy deflection off Max Aarons, whose poor positioning saw the ball loop over the helpless Travers and into the net.

Bournemouth flew out of the blocks in the second half and grabbed a goal through Tavernier in the 48th minute.

Both sides scrapped for the loose ball in QPR’s box after a set-piece but it fell nicely to Tavernier, whose effort took another heavy deflection before it bounced past Asmir Begovic.

Bournemouth equalised in the 58th minute through Moore.

Alex Scott’s inswinging corner was whipped into the danger zone and Moore beat Begovic in the air to nod his side back into the game from six yards.

The visitors completed the turnaround after 69 minutes through Kluivert.

Billing, who had been outstanding all game, turned the ball over in QPR’s defensive third before he picked out Kluivert at the back post.

Kluivert, son of former Barcelona and Netherlands striker Patrick Kluivert, showed how clinical he can be when he finished first time to seal victory for Bournemouth.

Promotion-chasing Ipswich lost the chance to pull away from the pack in the Championship as they were held to a 0-0 draw by struggling QPR.

The match saw both sides have a number of chances to win it, with the visitors coming closest when Steve Cook’s header hit the post and ran across the goal line.

The result saw Ipswich fall eight points behind leaders Leicester, with the gap to third-placed Southampton just three points, while QPR stayed in the drop zone.

Sinclair Armstrong made his presence felt in the second minute when he muscled his way past Luke Woolfenden but Ipswich goalkeeper Vaclav Hladky parried the shot behind for a corner.

Three minutes later, Freddie Ladapo had only Asmir Begovic to beat when Conor Chaplin played him in but he delayed his shot which was cleared by the Rangers’ defence.

Begovic came to the visitors’ rescue when he deflected the ball over the bar with his legs from another Ladapo effort, while Ilias Chair and Armstrong combined down the left with the latter’s shot coming off Hladky for a QPR corner.

Ipswich had a narrow escape in the 31st minute when Cook’s header struck the base of the post following a QPR corner and rolled across the goal line, with a combination of Hladky and Cameron Burgess clearing the ball away.

At the other end, Begovic tipped a shot from Omari Hutchinson over the bar and an inswinging corner by the Chelsea loanee that was creeping inside the near post was headed behind by Reggie Cannon.

Ladapo had the QPR shot-stopper stretching across his goal line following a cross from Cameron Humphreys which the Ipswich striker headed narrowly wide, and a slick exchange of passes between Marcus Harness and Humphreys resulted in the midfielder’s shot being blocked by Begovic.

Paul Smyth came close to giving the Hoops the lead when he almost beat Hladky to the ball and referee David Webb turned away penalty appeals for QPR when Smyth went down in the box following a challenge from Woolfenden.

The match was held up at half time after a medical emergency in the crowd.

QPR boss Gareth Ainsworth revealed that he told Sinclair Armstrong he would score his first goal for the club before the young Irish striker came up trumps in a 2-1 win at Cardiff.

The 20-year-old Armstrong opened his Rangers account before charging clear to set up Kenneth Paal’s second-half clincher, with Ike Ugbo’s open-goal finish nothing more than a consolation for Cardiff.

“I told Sinclair in the hotel this morning that he was going to score his first goal and the beaming smile on his face gave me confidence, never mind him,” said Ainsworth.

“He’s a man of few words. He just said: ‘Cheers gaffer’. He told me after the game: ‘You were right gaffer’.

“He’s a work in progress but I believe we’ve got a real diamond. He’s young and come out of a lower level in Ireland.

“He’s not had enough games in the Championship yet, but he will get there and he’s like a 100 metres sprinter.

“He’s the quickest player I’ve ever worked with and is going to cause serious problems for defences.”

Ainsworth’s position has come under scrutiny after failing to stop QPR’s slide following his move from Wycombe in February.

QPR narrowly avoided relegation from the Sky Bet Championship last season and lost 4-0 at Watford on the opening day of this campaign after conceding four first-half goals.

“I didn’t give them the best chance of being successful (at Watford) and it’s been a big week – and a big day – for me,” said Ainsworth.

“I thought ‘how do I get the best out of the players I’ve got?’ rather than thinking what’s got me success over the last 10 years.

“This is new now, it’s not what I’ve had, and we had to change.

“There is going to be some pain before we get better, but I can see the start now and I want to build.”

There was plenty of excitement around Cardiff with Aaron Ramsey, having returned to the club in the summer, making his first appearance at home since 2011.

But new Cardiff manager Erol Bulut said: “Many players were nervous – I don’t understand why. Maybe it is the first game in front of our fans. But that is not a reason to be nervous.

“We created enough to at least score a second goal and get a point. But two individual mistakes in the game meant the opponents led 2-0 and it’s not easy to come back to draw from there.

“We have to keep working on our mistakes. Also some players have to be much more active.

“From some players, it’s not enough. They have to give a better performance.

“Many players still have in their heads the last two years, how the Championship was for them.

“I try to push it out of them, to believe in themselves and focus on our target.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.