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Fulham 3-2 QPR Prem30 1213 Daily Mail

last updated Wednesday 03rd April 2013, 12:05 AM

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Sami Mokbel at Daily Mail

Fulham (3) 3 QPR (1) 2

Harry Redknapp may not agree, but Queens Park Rangers look certainties for relegation now.

The Loftus Road club fell just short of completing a breathtaking comeback against West London rivals Fulham last night after gifting the hosts three first-half goals.

A two-goal fightback in the second half was not enough to prevent a hugely damaging loss. They are seven points from safety with seven games to play and that looks a step too far even for Harry Houdini.

Redknapp said: 'We don't need a miracle, we need wins. Winning football matches isn't a miracle. Turning water to wine, that's a miracle.

'That was a disastrous first-half performance. We gave away the worst goals I've ever seen in my life. Scandalous. But then we came back and murdered them. But we are not giving up. We need 14 points.'

The nightmare for Rangers - and Christopher Samba in particular - started to unfold in the eighth minute. The £12.5million January signing from Anzhi Makhachkala brought down Ashkan Dejagah with an outstretched right leg on the edge of the box, leaving referee Lee Probert with no option but to point to the spot. Dimitar Berbatov sent Julio Cesar the wrong way with the penalty to put Fulham in front.

Redknapp looked annoyed but it got worse. Berbatov and Brede Hangeland went close with headers from set pieces, leaving the QPR boss furious at the way Fulham's dead-ball moves were causing his side so many problems.

But the 66-year-old should have been more concerned by the foolishness of Samba.

With time to clear on the edge of his own penalty area, the former Blackburn defender showed all the urgency of a holiday maker in Majorca as he was dispossessed by Dejagah, leaving Berbatov to roll the ball expertly past Cesar and into the net with the outside of his boot.

Samba shook his head, Redknapp followed suit. It's not quite what you expect from the record signing, who is Rangers' best-paid player ever on £100,000 a week. 'I'm really sorry, I let the side down,' Samba admitted later.

In contrast, Fulham manager Martin Jol wore a smile. Newcastle's Alan Pardew and Wigan's Roberto Martinez, who were in attendance last night, would have been happy too as they watched their relegation rivals suffer.

Rangers threatened a quick reply, Bobby Zamora firing an awkward half-volley over the bar, which was greeted with cheers as loud as the proceeding goals given the striker's former alligiance to Fulham

But the Rangers response was shortlived as Fulham took a three-goal advantage in the 41st minute.

This time it was Clint Hill who was shaking his head as John Arne Riise's cutback deflected off the QPR defender's arm and past Cesar.

However, where there is Redknapp, there tends to be hope and Adel Taarabt gave the visitors something tangible to fight for when he capitalised on Giorgos Karagounis's misplaced pass to fire past Schwarzer from the edge of the box in first-half stoppage time.

The goal probably would not have been enough to save Rangers from a half-time rocket from their manager, and skipper Hill was replaced by Nedum Onuoha at the break following his poor first-half display.

The Redknapp rollicking looked to have had the desired effect as Loic Remy fired a long-range effort just wide within seconds of the restart following another Karagounis mistake.

The Greece midfielder then handed Rangers a golden chance to score a second with a needless challenge on Taarabt which resulted in Probert awarding another penalty.

However, Schwarzer pulled off a brilliant stop from Remy to preserve Fulham's two-goal advantage in the 48th minute.

If you thought Redknapp was angry in the first half, then his face was a picture of fury in the aftermath of Remy's saved spot kick.

But Remy made amends three minutes later as he fired past Schwarzer from Stephane Mbia's through ball.

Rangers were thrown another lifeline in the 78th minute when Steve Sidwell was shown a straight red card for a reckless challenge on Armand Traore. You would have expected the kitchen sink to be thrown at Fulham late on but Rangers failed to find a leveller.

Fulham: Schwarzer, Riether, Senderos, Hangeland, Riise, Duff, Karagounis, Sidwell, Dejagah (Emanuelson 38) (Frimpong 80), Ruiz, Berbatov. Subs: Etheridge, Richardson, Hughes, Rodallega, Frei.

Goals: Berbatov 8 (pen), Berbatov 22, Hill (og) 41.

QPR: Julio Cesar, Bosingwa, Samba, Hill (Onuhoa 46), Traore (Mackie 84), Townsend, Mbia, Jenas, Taarabt (Hoilett 75), Zamora, Remy. Subs: Green, Park, Granero, Ben Haim,

Goal: Taarabt 45, Remy 51.

Referee: Lee Probert (Wiltshire)

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