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Michu scored twice as Swansea City inflicted a 4-1 defeat on relegation-threatened QPR at the Liberty Stadium.
The Swans had triumphed 5-0 at Loftus Road on the opening day of the season and early strikes from Michu and Angel Rangel set them on their way in Wales. Substitute Bobby Zamora pulled a goal back for the R’s only for Pablo Hernandez to restore Swansea’s advantage with an excellent finish before Michu rubbed salt into the wounds when he added his 18th of the season.
The only downside for the Swans was the loss of Chico Flores to an ankle injury just past the half-hour mark. The centre-half is set to have a scan to check if he suffered any ligament damage, just two weeks before the Capital One Cup final against Bradford at Wembley.
But QPR, without the injured Loic Remy, have bigger problems as a sluggish start which belied their perilous position at the foot of the table proved very costly. The visitors had conceded just once in their last five league games but they were 2-0 down inside 19 minutes after a disappointing start.
The opener came in the eighth minute when Nathan Dyer took advantage of the space in front of him to get away a shot and, when Julio Cesar could not hold on to it, Michu was on hand to guide a looping shot in off the outside of his boot to end his run of six games without a goal.
Cesar kept out the forward’s low shot from Flores’s incisive pass a few minutes later but it proved a brief respite as Rangel doubled the lead. Wayne Routledge played the full-back into plenty of space and he slotted his second goal of the season after Cesar could only parry his initial effort.
But Swansea were dealt a blow when they lost Flores in the 33rd minute. The centre-half went in low to make a header and appeared to turn his ankle as he did so and required prolonged treatment before being carried off, with Kyle Bartley his replacement.
The injury did not unsettle Swansea and they continued to have things their own way, with goalkeeper Michel Vorm a spectator throughout the first half. Adel Taarabt summed up QPR’s frustration when he picked up a needless booking for kicking the ball away when conceding a free-kick, the Moroccan then started a spat with Jonathan de Guzman and Ki Sung-yueng.
Redknapp sent on Esteban Granero and Zamora for Shaun Derry and Jamie Mackle at the start of the second half and within three minutes his side had a lifeline. Swansea left-back Ben Davies inadvertently ceded possession to Taarabt and when Vorm could not hold his shot Zamora was on hand to tap in.
But QPR’s joy was shortlived as Hernandez struck Swansea’s third just two minutes later. Michu picked out the winger in space on the left and the former Valencia man did the rest, outfoxing Nedum Onuoha before getting away a shot across Cesar to find the net courtesy of the inside of the far post.
Swansea piled on the pain when Michu produced his second at the end of a sweeping move. Vorm, Rangel and Kemy Agustien linked to find Hernandez in space and his slide-rule pass got Michu goal side of Christopher Samba to finish in style and crown an impressive performance.
Swansea manager Michael Laudrup: “The overall performance was very good. We were excellent in the first half, scored two goals, but then it became more open when they scored. But I was very pleased when Pablo scored the third goal and after we scored the fourth goal, we were completely in control.
“I was pleased we scored four goals after two league games without scoring, and the first half was similar to when we played West Brom. We had a bit of luck with the first couple of goals but overall it was a great performance and I’m delighted with the win.”
“[Michu] isn’t even really a centre forward. He is an offensive midfielder who can also play as a striker and is someone who can score goals. If he goes four or five games without a goal it doesn’t really matter. Even when he isn’t getting the chances he still does plenty of other work for the team.”
QPR manager Harry Redknapp: "We made mistakes today. They were blatant, almost schoolboy errors to give the goals away. Swansea are a good side and I love the way they play but I felt they didn't have to work hard for their goals. For the first goal we let Nathan Dyer run inside and have a shot and when it comes back Michu has all the time in the world to scoop it back in.
"We get back to 2-1 and I'm thinking we'll get something out of this game and then suddenly we go and give another couple of poor goals away that should never have been conceded. Defensively we've been strong lately but today we weren't and it made it difficult."
|17 Feb 2013||v Liverpool (A)|
|02 Mar 2013||v Newcastle (H)|
|09 Mar 2013||v West Brom (A)|
|16 Mar 2013||v Arsenal (H)|
|30 Mar 2013||v Spurs (H)|
|06 Apr 2013||v Norwich (A)|