QPR Gets First Victory at Chelsea Since 1986; Liverpool Wins 3-0
Last-place Queens Park Rangers earned its first victory at Chelsea in 27 years while Liverpool and Everton also won in the Premier League.
Shaun Wright-Phillips ended a 969-day goal drought in English soccer’s top tier to give QPR a 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge last night. Luis Suarez scored twice and set up another goal as Liverpool won 3-0 at home against Sunderland, while Everton rallied for a 2-1 victory at Newcastle.
“We worked hard and, because we defended like we did, we got what we deserved,” Wright-Phillips said in a televised interview with ESPN.
QPR remains bottom of the 20-team standings, tied on 13 points with Reading. European champion Chelsea missed out on the chance to climb one place to third and stays on 38 points. Everton, with 36 points, takes fifth spot from Arsenal, while Liverpool advances two places to eighth with 31 points. Manchester United leads the table with 52 points, seven more than second-place Manchester City.
It was QPR’s first success at Stamford Bridge since a 2-0 League Cup win on Jan. 29, 1986. It last won in the league at Chelsea on April 4, 1983, in the second tier, while its last victory in the top division at its rival was a 3-1 win in 1979.
Chelsea interim coach Rafael Benitez made five changes to the starting lineup that won 2-1 at Everton on Dec. 30. Strikers Juan Mata and Eden Hazard were left on the bench in favor of Oscar, whose only league goal this season came in an 8-0 win over Aston Villa on Dec. 23, and Fernando Torres, who is tied with Mata on a team-high seven Premier League goals this season.
After a first half dominated by defense, QPR goalkeeper Julio Cesar blocked Torres’s point-blank shot in the 53rd minute and Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard put the ball in the net after 66 minutes only for the goal to be disallowed for offside.
QPR scored 12 minutes later from a corner kick. Adel Taarabt cushioned the ball into the path of former Chelsea player Wright-Phillips, whose right-foot shot went low across Chelsea keeper Ross Turnbull into the net. Wright-Phillips last scored in the league on May 9, 2010, for Manchester City.
“They worked their socks off and they got their rewards,” QPR manager Harry Redknapp told reporters. “We deserved it and it was a fantastic performance.”
QPR secured its second league win of the season and its first on the road after Branislav Ivanovic headed just over the bar in the final minute of the game.
“A lot of things went wrong,” Benitez told reporters. “We had to be focused, but we didn’t have the tempo and some players may have been tired.”
At Anfield, Suarez set up the opening goal for Liverpool with a pass over the Sunderland defense that allowed Raheem Sterling to run through on goal and chip the ball over keeper Simon Mignolet after 19 minutes.
Suarez doubled the advantage seven minutes later and Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard sent a cross-field pass into the path of the Uruguayan in the 52nd minute that Suarez converted into his 15th goal of the league campaign.
Manchester United striker Robin van Persie is the top scorer this season with 16 goals.
Substitute Victor Anichebe scored after 60 minutes at St. James’ Park in Newcastle to give Everton the 2-1 comeback win. Papiss Cisse got the opening goal for the Magpies after two minutes and Leighton Baines tied it for Everton two minutes before halftime.
Newcastle, which yesterday gave Chelsea permission to negotiate with Demba Ba after the Blues met the requirements of the release clause in the Senegalese striker’s contract, stays 15th in the table with 20 points, one place and two points behind Sunderland.
Premier League play resumes Jan. 12 after the third round of the F.A. Cup, in which Chelsea travels to Southampton and QPR hosts West Brom on Feb. 5. Liverpool is at Mansfield the following day, while Everton visits Cheltenham on Jan. 7. Newcastle visits Brighton and Bolton hosts Sunderland Jan. 5.
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