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Tuesday, July 17, 2012


QPR kicked off their Asia Tour with a convincing victory over a Sabah Select XI in Kota Kinabalu. Bobby Zamora, Heidar Helguson, Jay Bothroyd and Djibril Cisse (2) were on the scoresheet for Rangers, who eased to the win in front of a healthy crowd at the Likas Stadium.

 Ji-Sung Park, Andy Johnson and Fabio da Silva also made their R's debuts, as Mark Hughes's men ran out deserved victors. Hughes named a different eleven for each half, favouring a mix of youth and experience in both sides. Park - who was in the first half team - was handed the Captain's armband, while there were also starts for the likes of Anton Ferdinand, Samba Diakite and Johnson. It didn't take the R's long to create their first opportunity of the contest.

 Zamora's pass found former Fulham team-mate Johnson, who strode into the box before forcing a fine save from Irwan Jamil in the Sabah goal. Johnson was soon involved again. Max Ehmer's outstanding low pass from deep found the diminutive front-man, who rounded the home keeper before seeing his shot cleared off the line by Baihaki Kaizan.

 From the resultant corner, Rangers took the lead. Shaun Wright-Phillips' out-swinging set-piece was met by the head of Ferdinand, who saw his effort parried by Jamil for Zamora to tap home the rebound. The Hoops almost doubled their advantage in the 12th minute. Johnson and Wright-Phillips combined before the latter crossed for Zamora to head over.

 Five minutes later, Rangers missed an even better opportunity to extend their lead. Excellent vision from Zamora saw the R's forward put Wright-Phillips in the clear, but the tricky winger could only fire a tame effort at Jamil. It was the same duo who combined once more before the break. 

This time it was Wright-Phillips who played architect, picking out Zamora just inside the area before the R's front-man saw his shot deflected wide. Five minutes short of half-time, Samba Diakite blasted an effort high and wide of the target from an acute angle. As planned, the R's fielded a completely different team for the second period, introducing Fabio, Adel Taarabt and Cisse, among others, at the interval.

 Rangers were almost two goals to the good just after the break. Fabio's delicious centre from the right picked out Cisse, whose header forced an acrobatic stop from Jamil. Chances didn't flow as much as they did in the first period, with Taarabt's speculative effort from distance the only other chance of the half to note just after the hour mark.

 QPR would eventually double their lead on 64 minutes. Bothroyd played Cisse in down the right before the Frenchman unselfishly squared for Helguson in the box, who had the simplest of tasks of tapping home into an empty net. Rangers' two goal lead was nearly three just a few minutes later.

 Hogan Ephraim's deft ball over the top of the Sabah defence freed Fabio before the Manchester United loanee saw his fierce half-volley turned away by Jamil. But the R's soon added a third through Bothroyd on 70 minutes. A corner eventually fell to the former Cardiff City ace, who used his strength to stave off a tackle before firing home from a tight angle in the box.

 Bothroyd missed a golden chance to add his second of the evening three minutes later, latching on to Cisse's through ball before dragging a weak effort straight at the keeper. Rangers bagged a fourth - and the goal of the evening - in the 74th minute. Ephraim's slide-rule pass put Cisse in the clear, who executed an outrageous lob to put the visitors further in front.

 The R's were now out of sight and they notched a fifth goal to round off proceedings eight minutes from time. Cisse struck his second of the night, receiving Fabio's through ball before sliding home into the unguarded net.

 QPR (first half): Murphy, Harriman, Ferdinand, Hill, Ehmer, Wright-Phillips, Diakite, Park, Doughty, Zamora, Johnson.

 QPR (second half): Cerny, Fabio, Onuoha, Connolly, Traore, Mackie, Taarabt, Ephraim, Bothroyd, Cisse, Helguson.

 Goals: Zamora (8), Helguson (64), Bothroyd (70), Cisse (74 & 82)

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