10-man Everton hold on for QPR draw
Julio Cesar received an own-goal on his conto
LONDON, England ● Everton held on for a 1-1 draw at QPR despite Steven Pienaar’s second half dismissal at Loftus Road on Sunday.
South African midfielder Pienaar was sent off for a second booking in the 61st minute, but struggling QPR were unable to take advantage as Everton cemented their position in the Premier League’s top four.
David Moyes’ side had earlier recovered from Junior Hoilett’s early strike to equalise when a Sylvain Distin header deflected in off QPR goalkeeper Julio Cesar’s back for an own goal.
Everton are now one point clear of fifth placed Tottenham after their fifth league game without defeat, while QPR, still without a league win this season, remain bottom of the table.
The build-up to the match was dominated with speculation as to which players would boycott wearing t-shirts in the warm-up supporting the anti-racism ‘Kick it Out’ campaign.
Anton Ferdinand and QPR team-mates Shaun Wright-Phillips and Hoilett opted not to wear the shirt, following the stance taken by Ferdinand’s brother Rio prior to Manchester United’s game against Stoke on Saturday.
Mark Hughes’ team didn’t seem distracted by the controversy as they took the lead in the second minute.
Everton captain Phil Neville lost possession to Hoilett and the former Blackburn winger fired in a powerful shot that beat Tim Howard after taking a deflection off Leighton Baines.
But Everton equalised in fortuitous circumstances in the 33rd minute.
Pienaar whipped in a deep free-kick that Distin headed onto a post and, with Cesar prone on the turf after attempting a save, the ball rebounded, hit the Brazilian on the back and cannoned into the net.
Referee Jonathan Moss waved away Everton striker Nikica Jelavic’s appeals for a penalty after he went down following a Stephane Mbia challenge late in the first half, while Toffees defender Phil Jagielka struck the crossbar from a corner before the break.
Everton’s hopes of victory suffered a major blow when Pienaar received his second booking in quick succession.
Pienaar had already been booked for one wild lunge, but his second yellow card was slightly harsh as he made minimal contact on Jose Bosingwa.
It took a fine save from Cesar to keep out a Jagielka header soon after, but QPR finished the stronger and Howard had to be alert to push away a Hoillet strike.
QPR appealed in vain for a penalty when Seamus Coleman appeared to trip Hoilett, who then a goalbound effort saved by Howard in a frantic finale.