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QPR 2-1 Fulham Premiership Matchday 17 1213 Daily Telegraph

last updated Monday 17th December 2012, 12:12 PM

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Gerry Cox at Daily Telegraph

QPR(0) 2 Fulham (0) 1

"Harry Redknapp's blue and white army", sang delighted home fans, and maybe the manager can yet save Queens Park Rangers after two goals from Adel Taarabt lifted them off the bottom for the first time this season.

QPR moved above Reading into 19th after their first win in 17 attempts this season, thus avoiding the fate of making the worst start in the top flight for 109 years.

And the unlikely hero was Taarabt, who was superb from start to finish, driving his team-mates forward, and scoring the crucial goals that could go a long way towards ensuring survival.

Redknapp had stressed the importance of keeping in touch with the teams above them, and QPR are now only five points short of the safety zone.

Redknapp has avoided relegation before, notably with Portsmouth, and also took Tottenham from the bottom to mid-table after taking over but, if he can keep QPR in the Premier League, it would be his greatest escape yet.

And who would have throught Taarabt would play such a pivotal role? QPR coud have scored as early as the sixth minute when Jamie Mackie was put in on goal by a horrible back pass from John Arne Riise, but he put his shot wide of the far post as Mark Schwarzer ran off his line to narrow the angle.

Taarabt went close with a couple of vicious efforts from long range, before finally breaking the deadlock seven minutes into the second half.

It took a huge slice of luck and a big deflection off Brede Hangeland to beat Schwarzer.

Taarabt received the ball with his back to goal, 35 yards out, drove on and took aim from outside the penalty area.

Schwarzer looked to have the ball covered until it hit Hangeland's shin and changed direction, wrongfooting the Australian goalkeeper.

Taarabt celebrated wildly, getting booked for his efforts, but the goal brought the game - and the home supporters - to life.

Djibril Cisse curled a shot just wide of the far post on the hour before Taarabt scored again, running at the Fulham defence in the 68th minute before curling a shot into the far corner of the goal with the outside of his boot.

"Taraabt was amazing," said Redknapp.

"He has fantastic ability and talent, and today I decided to play him in the hole behind the front man.

Every time he got the ball Fulham were in trouble."

Fulham were a shadow of the side who beat Newcastle last Monday.

"Too many players were not there today," said Martin Jol.

"We were too static."

His side finally found the net when substitute Mladen Petric shot into the far corner in the 88th minute to set up a tense finale.

Schwarzer made a superb save to keep out Cisse's header, while Robert Green saved from Petric in the dying seconds.

Moments later, Loftus Road was in raptures as QPR's supporters celebrated that first win of the season - and a precious three points.

"We deserved it and it would have been a travesty if we hadn't won," said Redknapp, who has masterminded three draws and a win since taking over last month.

"If we get six points from every four games we will stay up."

But they will be without Taarabt if he is called up for next month's African Cup of Nations.

"There is nothing we can do about it if he is selected," added the manager.

Queens Park Rangers (4-4-2): Green; Onuoha, Hill, Nelsen, Traore; Wright-Phillips (Fabio 86), Faurlin, Mbia, Taarabt; Mackie, Cisse (Ferdinand 90+2).
Subs: Cesar, Diakite, Derry, Granero, Hoilett.

Booked: Taarabt.

Fulham (4-4-2): Schwarzer; Riether (Kelly 46), Hughes, Hangeland, Riise; Duff, Sidwell, Baird, Richardson (Petric 63); Berbatov, Rodallega (Dejagah 73).
Subs: Etheridge, Senderos, Karagounis, Kacaniklic.

Booked: Sidwell, Dejagah.

Referee: M Atkinson (West Yorkshire).

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