Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 31 July 2014

Magpies safe as Rangers lose again

Yoan Gouffran celebrates netting Newcastle's winner

Newcastle ensured Premier League survival with a game to spare as a 2-1 win saw already-relegated QPR go down with a whimper at Loftus Road.

Hatem Ben Arfa's penalty and a Yoan Gouffran strike helped the Magpies come from behind to secure a victory that ensured another season in the top flight despite the late sending-off of goalkeeper Rob Elliott.

It had not always looked so plain sailing, though, with Loic Remy's early spot-kick putting Harry Redknapp's side ahead and ending a 376-minute wait for a goal.

QPR edged a poor opening that only came into life in the 11th minute when Mathieu Debuchy gave away a penalty as referee Lee Probert adjudged him to have fouled Junior Hoilett. Yohan Cabaye was booked for his remonstrations but they counted for nothing, with former Newcastle target Remy slotting home.

Ben Arfa burst into the box and Jose Bosingwa foolishly tugged the Newcastle man's shirt in clear view of Probert. Another spot-kick was awarded and the France international stepped up to smash home, with the ball going in off the underside of the bar.

It took just seven minutes for the Magpies to draw level and it appeared they had turned the match on its head by the 22nd minute. Debuchy swung in an exquisite right-wing cross that was nodded home at the far post by Papiss Cisse, only for the goal to be chalked off after the Senegalese striker drifted offside.

Hoilett forced Elliott into a fine reaction save when QPR returned to the attack but, like so many times this season, poor-decision making cost them dearly.

Bosingwa's popularity plummeted to a new low after sending a weak back-pass to Rob Green and, under pressure from Jonas Gutierrez, the Rs goalkeeper could only clear as far as the unmarked Gouffran, who cushioned a volley into the empty goal.

Newcastle were living dangerously with a one-goal lead - something that looked even more tentative eight minutes from time when they were reduced to 10 men.

Goalkeeper Elliott handled the ball outside the box and was shown his second yellow of the afternoon, with Steve Harper replacing Ben Arfa for the closing stages.

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