Adel Taarabt Image 2
QPR 4-0 Barnsley
ADEL Taarabt wasted no time in justifying the huge outlay QPR have committed themselves to in order to land the Moroccan star – earning the penalty which set Rangers on their way to an opening day win.
Barnsley simply could not cope with his trickery and he had spelt big trouble for the visitors long before he weaved around Jason Shackell inside the box before being tripped by a desperate Stephen Foster five minutes before the break.
A tap-in from Jamie Mackie on 53 minutes put Rangers into the comfort zone and Taarabt inevitably got on the scoresheet when he tucked home a penalty on 63 minutes.
Fitz Hall even got in on the act – celebrating being made captain by turning in a low cross from Ephriam at the far post. Hall scored twice in a win against the same team on the opening day two years ago and this will have felt as sweet.
Heidar Helguson calmly rolled the ball home from his spot kick to make it 1-0 at the break, but the Icelander was hardly the hero of the first 45 minutes – having headed over from two yards after Hogan Ephraim had headed a Taarabt corner invitingly back across goal.
He also won't want to see a re-run of his miss from a similar distance after Taarabt had put a chance on a plate with a low cross from the right which would have made it 4-0.
Taarabt, who agreed a three year deal this week, was involved in nearly everything Rangers created. He had one low shot clawed to safety by keeper Luke Steele and another 25-yard rasper than almost found the net. Even more eye-catching was a delicious pass with the outside of the boot that Jamie Mackie miscontrolled.
Mackie was one of five debutants in Neil Warnock's first starting XI of the campaign along with keeper Paddy Kenny, defenders Bradley Orr and Clint Hill and midfielder Shaun Derry.
All had to take a back seat as Taarabt stole the show against a Barnsley side looking for a first win at Loftus Road in 60 years.
Barnsley were not without hope and twice hit a post either side of half time – the first a close range header from Andy Gray, the second a low shot from Adam Hamill that had Kenny floundering.
But the game was already effectively up on 53 minutes when Mackie was on hand to tap in from a yard after Steele had made a hash of a low cross from Ephraim.
Taarabt made it 3-0 on 63 minutes - burying a penalty after more woeful defending – Shackell tripping Helguson after Barnsley had given the ball away cheaply.