Redknapp struggles to save QPR from relegation

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Redknapp struggles to save QPR from relegation

LONDON - After two encouraging wins, Queens Park Rangers’ recovery stalled on Saturday when a 3-2 defeat at Aston Villa left Harry Redknapp’s side staring at relegation.

With eight games remaining, the Premier League’s bottom club is seven points from safety after it “threw away” victory at relegation rivals, according to Redknapp.

“It’s a setback, but we can’t go feeling sorry for ourselves,” he told QPR’s Web site. “We’ve got to keep going.

“There are still games to go. If we keep playing well we can win four of five games.”

QPR, who sacked Mark Hughes earlier this season and spent liberally trying to preserve its top-flight status, has 23 points, the same as second-from-bottom Reading.

Redknapp has said 37 points should be enough to stay up, but that would mean collecting 14 points of the 24 available - a tall order considering how the season has gone.

The club was on course for three of them on Saturday after Jermaine Jenas gave them the lead in a first half it dominated.

But Gabriel Agbonlahor turned the match with an equalizer in first-half stoppage time.

Andreas Weimann put Villa in front, and although Andros Townsend made it 2-2, QPR was undone as Christian Benteke scored an 81st-minute winner for Villa to take them six points above the relegation zone.

Redknapp was scratching his head at how his team had come away with nothing.

“I’m upset for the lads, I thought they played well today,” he said.

“We’ve not lost through a lack of effort. We were fantastic in the first half. It was so one-sided it was unbelievable.

“I wanted to come in [at halftime] 1-0 up, even though it could have been more. Instead they’ve suddenly got a lift after being awful.

“They couldn’t believe their luck. We threw it away from where we were.”

Manchester City’s fingertip hold on the Premier League title was further loosened when a 2-0 loss at Everton followed by runaway leader Manchester United’s 1-0 win over Reading left the team praying for a football miracle.

Leon Osman’s swerving 32nd-minute shot put Everton in front at a raucous Goodison Park and, although the home side was reduced to 10 men when Steven Pienaar was red-carded for a rash tackle after 61 minutes, City could not reply.

Substitute Nikica Jelavic sealed victory deep in stoppage time after being set up by a rampaging Marouane Fellaini.

In Spain, Real Madrid woke from a slumber with a three-goal blast at the start of the second half as it came back to beat lowly Real Mallorca 5-2 in La Liga on Saturday.

Third from bottom Mallorca twice went in front with headers against a seemingly distracted Madrid at the Bernabeu before the host rallied.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Luka Modric and Gonzalo Higuain, with his second of the game, netted in a six-minute spell and substitute Karim Benzema notched a fifth goal at the end to leave coach Jose Mourinho’s side in second place. Reuters
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