Premier League: QPR 1 Stoke 0
A late goal from Djibril Cisse earned all three points for Queens Park Rangers as they beat Stoke City 1-0 in the Premier League.
A corner provided the in-form striker with a tap-in, after a poor showing from both sides in which neither created anything outstanding.
QPR were looking for a crucial win in their fight against relegation, with only goal difference keeping them out of the drop zone. They were hoping their good home form, wining their last four at Loftus Road, while taking advantage of Stoke's poor away form this season, would help them secure a crucial three points.
The hosts began the game well, with Jamie Mackie attacking down the right, pulling his cross back and providing a good chance for Adel Taarabt, but the Moroccan could not get on the end of it.
Moments later Cameron Jerome spurned a glorious opportunity to put Stoke in the lead. Peter Crouch flicked the ball into the striker's path, but he snatched at his shot from eight yards out and sliced it wide.
Taarabt continued to look lively within the first quarter of an hour, winning a free kick for his side after a nice piece of skill to evade Marc Wilson. The former Tottenham player then took the set piece, which was heading for the bottom left hand corner if not for a very good save from Thomas Sorenson, who parried it out.
Joey Barton almost latched on to the rebound, but instead of giving it to the unmarked Bobby Zamora in the box, he could only hit the side netting.
Both teams were looking to attack within the first half-hour, but neither could retain possession for long enough to create anything substantial. The home side then had to defend against several Rory Delap throw-ins and Stoke set-pieces but none provided any clear-cut chances for the visitors.
Later in the half, Zamora won the ball from Matthew Upson after the defender was caught hesitating. The former Fulham man drove at the Stoke box and provided a delightful cross for Barton, who should have scored with a free header but his effort was straight at the goalkeeper.
Just before the first half ended, a swift counter attack from the home side almost broke the deadlock, with some nice interplay ending in Zamora rolling the ball into the path of Mackie, but Sorensen rushed out bravely to gather.
Stoke began the second half well, with Crouch having a free header in the box. Minutes later, Ricardo Fuller had a superb curling effort, but his shot sailed just wide of the far post.
Substitute Cisse had the best chance of the half, producing a fantastic save from Sorensen. The Frenchman got ahead of his marker to head towards goal, but the outstretched arm of the Danish keeper denied the striker from putting QPR in the lead going into the final 10 minutes.
With only a minute left of normal time, the January signing may have made his biggest contribution so far, scoring a crucial goal for QPR as he finished an easy tap in from four yards out.
Nedum Onuhua rose high to head on the incoming ball to the back post from the corner, and Cisse had an easy chance to finish and seal a crucial victory for Mark Hughes' side.