QPR 1 Leeds United 0: Whites stay third after blowing their game in hand at Loftus Road

LEEDS UNITED blew their chance to move back to the top of the Championship by falling to a 1-0 defeat at Loftus Road in their game in hand against Tuesday night hosts Queens Park Rangers who ended a run of seven successive league defeats.

Tuesday, 26th February 2019, 8:46 pm
Updated Tuesday, 26th February 2019, 8:52 pm
BIG BLOW: Kiko Casilla can only look behind as Luke Freeman bags the only goal of the game.

Leeds squandered a series of chances in the first half and QPR bagged the only goal of the game in the 49th minute when Luke Freeman flicked home a low cross from Massimo Luongo.

Both sides then had chances in the second half but Leeds were unable to find any sort of breakthrough with United staying third - behind second-placed Sheffield United on goal difference and two points adrift of leaders Norwich City.

Whites head coach Marcelo Bielsa named an unchanged side with Gaetano Berardi and Barry Douglas both back from injury on the bench.

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Rs boss Steve McClaren made two changes with playmaker Freeman shaking off a hip problem to start instead of Ryan Manning with Nahki Wells also replacing Tomer Hemed upfront.

Leeds went close to making a dream start in the first minute when a Tyler Roberts back heel set up a Whites attack that ended with Pablo Hernandez firing a weak shot wide following a Mateusz Klich run and Patrick Bamford square ball.

QPR then looked to threaten with Eberechi Eze firing straight at Kiko Casilla and then blazing over before Leeds upped the ante with three chances inside three minutes.

First a Pablo Hernandez shot was deflected to Jack Harrison whose cross was hacked behind for a corner before Joe Lumley tipped over a Kalvin Phillips header from a Gjanni Alioski corner.

Tyler Roberts then drew a decent save from Lumley from the edge of the box before Pontus Jansson cleared the danger at the other end after a Freeman shot had hit Eze on the back.

But Leeds were fashioning the better chances and Bamford blazed a snapshot from inside the area over the bar from a right-wing cross from Luke Ayling.

Ayling was then responsible for creating United's best chance yet in the 33rd minute when the right back robbed Freeman with Leeds working the ball out wide to Hernandez whose cross flew across goal and just wide with Bamford narrowly failing to slide the ball home.

QPR's Massimo Luongo then blasted a shot over at the other end before Leeds saw out a few minutes with ten ten men with captain Liam Cooper receiving treatment for a cut to the face.

But Leeds then failed to survive a strong QPR start to the second half and the Rs took a 49th-minute lead when Freeman cleverly flicked home a low cross from Luongo after Luongo had escaped Kalvin Phillips down the right.

After Gjanni Alioski blasted a poor effort well wide, the Rs squandered a fine chance to double their lead when Nahki Wells put a free header straight at Casilla from a Jake Bidwell cross.

Another Rs opportunity then went begging as Casilla rushed off his line to block a low shot from Wells after lovely play from Freeman.

Freeman was running the show and the Rs playmaker then saw a fine low shot deflected wide for a corner from which Luongo powered a rocket of a volley over the bar.

Leeds responded with Alioski forcing Lumley to tip a cross over the bar before Lumley gathered a low cross from Roberts with Bamford lurking.

United then wasted their best chance of the half when substitute Barry Douglas lashed an effort over the bar in space on the edge of the box.

And Leeds were then somehow denied by Lumley who kept out efforts from substitute Stuart Dallas and then two close range attempts from Bamford.

Izzy Brown was then finally handed his Leeds debut when brought on for Alioski with nine minutes left but the Chelsea loanee was booked for a foul within minutes of his introduction.

And as part of a miserable night for Leeds, QPR were only denied a second goal in the 89th minute by an excellent save from Casilla to keep out a low drive from Bright Osayi-Samuel.

QPR: Lumley, Furlong, Leistner, Hall, Bidwell, Wszolek, Luongo, Cousins, Freeman (Scowen 86), Eze (Osayi-Samuel 76), Wells (Hemed 83). Subs not used: Ingram, Manning, Lynch, Smith

Leeds: Casilla, Ayling (Dallas 73), Jansson, Cooper, Alioski (Brown 81), Phillips (Douglas 65), Hernandez, Roberts, Klich, Harrison, Bamford. Subs not used: Peacock-Farrell, Berardi, Shackleton, Gotts.

Referee: A Davies.

Attendance: 14,763 (3,105 away).