Cisse hero for QPR

PA Sport
Djibril Cisse
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Djibril Cisse

Djibril Cisse scored two minutes from time to drag QPR from the canvas and record a hugely important 1-0 win over Stoke that could well secure the club's Barclays Premier League status.

Rangers limped through the vast majority of the match and looked set to slip back into the relegation zone, but Cisse stepped off the bench to tap home at the back post after 88 minutes to set the stands at Loftus Road rocking.

Mark Hughes' side recorded a remarkable 3-2 victory over Liverpool in March with a last minute winner but this result will live much longer in the memory of the home faithful for its huge significance.

Stoke looked the stronger side early on. Despite hitting out at manager Tony Pulis in midweek, Cameron Jerome started in a Stoke team that contained four strikers. The former Cardiff striker spectacularly failed to reward his manager early on, however, when he latched on to Peter Crouch's knock-down to volley over from 10 yards.

Adel Taarabt proved to be QPR's most lively performer. The Moroccan dazzled the Potters defence with his trickery and also stung Thomas Sorensen's palms with a powerful 25-yard free-kick.

The home crowd urged their team on after news of Martin Petrov's opener for Bolton filtered through to Loftus Road, but they failed to respond. Stoke almost grabbed the lead on two occasions just after the break. Crouch miscued a free header and Ricardo Fuller curled a wicked shot that flew just wide.

The home fans demanded Cisse's introduction and it came after 55 minutes at the expense of Akos Buzsaky.

The away fans sang '2-0 Bolton, 2-0 Bolton' as it emerged the Trotters had added a second and QPR almost responded to the taunt by taking the lead. Taye Taiwo crossed brilliantly for Cisse, but Thomas Sorensen scrambled across his goal-line to deny the Frenchman.

QPR boss Hughes threw on Jay Bothroyd and Shaun Wright-Phillips at the death to add some extra impetus and the move worked. Wright-Phillips' shot deflected wide, leading to a QPR corner. Taarabt's cross was nodded on by Anton Ferdinand and up popped Cisse to stab home from close range to send the home crowd into ecstasy.

Crouch missed a chance to grab an equaliser in the four minutes of added time as QPR held on for a valuable win which was followed by a huge pitch invasion. News of two late West Brom goals at Bolton lifted spirits further and the players came back on to the pitch after the final whistle to salute their jubilant and relieved support.

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