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Wigan Athletic’s Shaun Maloney struck a free-kick four minutes into injury time to nudge Queens Park Rangers closer to relegation from the Barclays Premier League.
Loic Remy appeared to have given QPR renewed hope in their survival quest with a stunning 85th-minute strike, only for Maloney to drive home an equaliser from 20 yards just seconds from the final whistle. It was a spectacular twist to the match and agonising for QPR who had played all but 20 minutes with only 10 men after Bobby Zamora was sent off.
In attempting to reach a throw-in, Zamora kicked Jordi Gomez in the head with his studs and dropping him to the floor. Gomez received treatment and having consulted assistant Scott Ledger, referee Phil Dowd sent Zamora off. The 32-year-old will miss crucial fixtures against Everton, Stoke and Reading, with his side seven points from safety.
After spending some time adjusting to Zamora's absence, QPR continued in the driving seat of a match they had to win. But just as they appeared to have done enough to secure a critical victory, Maloney struck to leave them seven points adrift of safety. The draw will be more palatable to Wigan, but they remain in the bottom three on goal difference.
Flashes of promise were evident from QPR in the opening five minutes as a back-heel from Zamora was just missed by Remy and Junior Hoilett narrowly failed to reach a dangerous ball at the far post.
Better was to come from Remy in the ninth minute when the Frenchman struck the left post with a ferocious shot that had beaten Wigan goalkeeper Joel Robles. But the bright start shuddered to a halt in the 21st minute when Zamora was dismissed for his foul on Gomez.
Julio Cesar kept a well-struck long-range effort from James McCarthy at bay while at the other end only a terrific tackle from Emmerson Boyce prevented Remy from connecting with a cross from Jose Bosingwa. With space to exploit on the right, Remy was released into the box but his final ball was wayward.
Adel Taarabt was brought off the bench, replacing Hoilett, at half-time and his pinpoint delivery to Remy at the far post was headed narrowly wide by the January signing from Marseille.
Despite their numerical advantage, Wigan had barely mustered a shot at goal and it was QPR who were the more dangerous side.
Wigan could have taken the lead in the 78th minute but substitute James McArthur directed his header straight at Julio Cesar, who was making only his second real save of the game.
Roberto Martinez’s side must have raised their hopes when they were awarded a free-kick 30 yards out, but instead it proved their downfall as the ball was stolen by Stephane Mbia.
The French midfielder dashed 50 yards and released Remy who rifled home his fifth goal from the edge of the area. As the match entered injury-time Mbia barged into the back of Maloney 20 yards out and the midfielder picked himself up to curl in the leveller.
Queens Park Rangers manager Harry Redknapp: "We didn't deserve that, we deserved to win. It was a fantastic performance from everyone one of them. It [the result] was criminal. Even with 10 men I thought we deserved to win. [The players are] low, just like I am, very low. You don't always get what you deserve in football; that is how it goes.
"The players who have come in the window have done well, [Loic] Remy has scored goals, he is probably our leading goalscorer and he has only played about seven games. Andros Townsend has come in on loan and been fantastic, made a real difference to the team - Jermaine Jenas has done excellent. Suddenly we look like we are going to score, unfortunately the window came a little late for us perhaps."
Wigan manager Roberto Martinez: "It's a great point because we were 1-0 down and a late goal like that is a point gained, there's no two ways about it. But overall we were very poor and I think that's the worst performance we've had this season. We were cagey.
"If anything the sending-off went against us. We are a team that enjoy having the ball and we can open teams up but we made it a hard task. The players know that they haven't done things as well as they should have done but that result is very, very important.
"All of a sudden we allowed ourselves to be frustrated and that's the worst thing in football. In football you can win, lose or draw but you have to be yourself and impose yourself but we couldn't do it."
|13 Apr 2013||v Everton (A)|
|20 Apr 2013||v Stoke (H)|
|28 Apr 2013||v Reading (A)|
|04 May 2013||v Arsenal (H)|
|12 May 2013||v Newcastle (H)|
|19 May 2013||v Liverpool (A)|