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Match Analysis: Queens Park Rangers 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur

Sports Mole looks back at Tottenham Hotspur's slender 2-1 victory over London rivals Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road.

Tottenham Hotspur edged out Queens Park Rangers 2-1 at Loftus Road this afternoon to keep their top-four hopes alive in the Premier League.

Harry Kane's double, which takes his personal tally up to 26 for the season in all competitions, had put the visitors in command at Loftus Road, before Sandro pulled one back 15 minutes from time against his former club.

The Hoops had two penalty shouts turned down, the strongest of which came shortly after they had found a route back into the game as Nabil Bentaleb appeared to handle the ball inside the area.

Charlie Austin and Christian Eriksen saw their respective efforts come back off the frame of the goal, also, in what was an entertaining London derby affair.

Here, Sports Mole takes a closer look at how the 90 minutes of action unfolded.

Match statistics

QUEENS PARK RANGERS
Shots: 17
On target: 6
Possession: 37%
Corners: 3
Fouls: 15

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR
Shots: 13
On target: 6
Possession: 63%
Corners: 5
Fouls: 12

Was the result fair?

Just about. Having taken the lead somewhat against the run of play in the first half, Tottenham came out much stronger following the restart and looked good value for their two-goal advantage. Then, out of nowhere, Sandro popped up against his former side with a well-taken strike from the edge of the box to give the Hoops some much-needed hope.

They were unable to mount a comeback, though, with a hotly-disputed penalty shout the closest that they came to worrying Spurs. Both goalkeepers had to be on top of their game throughout, with Hugo Lloris's save from Bobby Zamora's dipping heading inside the opening 30 seconds the best of the lot. On what was an afternoon of high drama at Loftus Road, the Lilywhites showed the guile and poise needed to keep their European aspirations very much alive.

Queens Park Rangers's performance

It is now just the one win in 11 for a QPR side who are seemingly heading back down to the Championship once more. Their once decent home form has deserted them, this their sixth game without a win on their own patch, although yet again they were a little hard done by. In the end, a rather wasteful first half in front of goal cost them dearly, as a number of chances to break the deadlock went begging.

Austin was their liveliest player in front of onlooking England boss Roy Hodgson, forcing Lloris into a couple of saves and also striking the bar on the half-hour mark. Mauricio Isla, drafted into the side along with Rio Ferdinand this afternoon, had a shout for a penalty turned down when he went down under the most minimal of contact from Lloris. But Austin certainly had a stronger shout towards the end when Bentaleb kept out a shot which looked to be heading towards goal with his hand. This was a good enough showing from the Hoops on the whole, although their shaky defence - now statistically the worst in the division - proved to be their ultimate downfall in the end.

Tottenham Hotspur's performance

The gyrating of Mauricio Pochettino on the touchline throughout the second half said it all about how important this win was for Spurs. After dropping out of the Europa League recently, combined with their League Cup final defeat against Chelsea, it was vital that his side took six points from six in their next two outings. They have done just that, with this successful trip following quickly on from an equally slender win against Swansea City in the week. They had the two usual suspects to thank, too, as Lloris and Kane came up trumps again to push them over the line.

Kane has now almost certainly nailed down a spot in the England squad to face Lithuania and Italy at the end of this month, while opposite number Austin will feel extremely hard done by if he gets overlooked. Spurs well and truly turned up the pressure in the opening stages of the second half, seeing Eriksen's shot saved off the line just 10 minutes after he had struck the inside of the post, before adding the all important second. Tottenham's prolific centre-forward, now behind only Diego Costa and Sergio Aguero in the scoring charts despite essentially missing the first three months of the season, will rightly take all the headlines. Next up is a huge meeting with Manchester United, a potentially decisive fixture in their quest for a place inside the top four.

Sports Mole's man of the match

Harry Kane: Who else? The prolific forward now has 26 goals for the season, 16 of them coming in the Premier League, making him the country's highest goalscorer in all competitions. He took both goals well, too, getting his head on the ball ahead of Green for the opener and rounding his countryman to tap home a second.

Biggest gaffe

Spurs looked a little nervy at the back for large parts, which can partly be blamed on the glaring sunshine that they had to face in the second half. One particular passage of play in the opening 45 minutes saw Eric Dier fail to get any real height on his clearance, while Kyle Walker's follow-up header back to his keeper was some way short. That allowed Austin to race in behind and flick a shot towards goal but, Lloris came out on top to spare the full-back's blushes.

Referee performance

A couple of big calls for Craig Pawson and his officials to make. The first one, when Isla went down under the faintest of touches inside the area, seemed to be the correct call. But the second one really could have gone either way, with Bentaleb failing to get out of the way of a shot which struck him on the hand. Whichever way Pawson had given it, one set of supporters would have bemoaned the decision, so you have to feel a bit of sympathy for the man in the middle.

What next?

Queens Park Rangers: This was the second of three successive London-derbies for the Hoops, who return to action next weekend with a huge clash against Crystal Palace. They have now failed to win any of their last 11 matches against fellow sides from the English capital.

Tottenham Hotspur: One of the biggest games of the Premier League season so far awaits the Lilywhites as they prepare to tackle fellow top-four chasers Manchester United at Old Trafford. They will head into that game on the back of two successive victories, although anything less than a point and their hopes of Champions League football next season could well be over.

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Harry Kane of Spurs celebrates as he scores their second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Queens Park Rangers and Tottenham Hotspur at Loftus Road on March 7, 2015
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