Date:Saturday August 2 2008
Rangers went down to a far superior Chievo side at Loftus Road with the 2-1 scoreline more the flattering the R`s at times.
The visitors showed Rangers First Team Coach Iain Dowie the true meaning of passing football at times, as the R`s flattered to deceive once again.
Cheivo went into the break one up courtesy of a composed Erjan Bogdani strike, and that became a well deserved two after the break with Bentovoglio`s thunderous drive doubling the lead for the Italian outfit.
Dexter Blackstock got his spot kick right at the second attempt after his initial effort was saved well by Leonardo Squizzi to reduce the errears. But it wasn`t enough for the R`s as they were taught a footballing lesson by Chievo Verona.
On a day where Lee Cook was unveiled before a modest crowd at Loftus Road following his season long loan move from Fulham, and the scaffolding at the school end holding up a state of the art new scoreboard, the R`s lined up with what was according to Dowie, the closest possible line-up to that of the Barnsley fixture.
New signing Kaspars Gorkss was handed his debut at the heart of the R`s defence alongside Fitz Hall, following his undisclosed move from Blackpool, with Peter Ramage and Damien Delaney at full back. Gavin Mahon and Mikele Leigertwood were in the middle with Emmanuel Ledesma, Angelo Balanta and Patrick Agyemang sitting behind lone striker Dexter Blackstock.
Queens Park Rangers v Chievo Verona
Rangers started the game strongly and looked to attack from the off, with Angelo Balanta playing in a roaming role behind Blackstock, coming deep to get the ball before offloading the ball wide.
With the Rangers full backs pushing forward to support the depleted flanks, there were gaps left in behind as "The Flying Donkeys" looked to stretch Rangers. One of these gaps was very nearly exploited with five minutes gone as tricky left winger Antimo Iunco narrowly evaded the offside trap courtesy of Kaspars Gorkss. Following his goal bound chip over onrushing keeper Radek Cerny, Gorkss recovered well to clear off the line.
A real let off for the R`s, whose chances were few and far between. Emmanuel Ledesma`s clever interplay saw him come inside receiving the ball on the edge of the area before some great technique saw him send a venomous dipping left footed drive narrowly over the bar.
Chievo had a good chance when Iunco was at it again down the left flank, dinking a right footed cross to the far post, as giant forward Bogdani rose highest to glance his header into the grateful arms of Rangers stopper, Cerny.
Rangers actually had the ball in the back of the net at one stage only for the Premier League referee Howard Webb to disallow the goal for pushing. When Ledesma`s left-footed corner was drilled in, it looked for all the world that the R`s attackers were being impeded by their Italian counterparts, Mr. Webb saw differently as Delaney bundled the ball home from close range.
After a speculative effort from distance, Chievo continued to lay siege to the R`s goal and the counter attack nearly opened the R`s up once more. Some more good work by the industrious Iunco, found him one on one with Kaspars Gorkss on the edge of the area, he squared it to the unmarked Luciano, but Gavin Mahon strode back to make a goal saving tackle as Rangers were nearly caught out.
The Serie A outfit eventually broke the deadlock courtesy of man mountain striker Erjan Bogdani. Rangers were once again left stretched at the back as that man again Iunco worked his way into space down the left - he delightfully chipped right footed cross evaded Fitz Hall before Bogdani showed fantastic composure to place past Cerny left. A goal that was fully deserved as Rangers were continually found wanting in defensive departments.
Queens Park Rangers 0-1 Chievo Verona
Balanta was a shining light for the R`s and was highly industrious in his role behind Blackstock. The young Colombian seemed to relish his position in the hole and it was he who carved out another opportunity for Rangers.
Approaching the half time break Balanta burst down the right flank following a left footed ball over the top by Ramage. Balanta`s right footed cross found Blackstock in the box but his weak header was misguided past the far post.
That brought to an end a lacklustre first period from Rangers, for all the enterprise of Balanta there were definitive weaknesses, most notably in the full back positions and upfront with Blackstock being isolated at times due to some wayward services combined with the striker`s negligible movement.
Half Time: Queens Park Rangers 0-1 Chievo Verona
With Iain Dowie moving downstairs from a depleated C-Club, one would have expected the R`s to be in the ascendancy, however they started in a similar fashion after the interval with an unchanged line-up, formation and ultimately style of play.
The aptly named Vicenzo Italiano found some space on the right flank before cutting inside with defenders backing off. He hit a curling left footed drive wide of Cerny`s right hand upright.
Rangers` chances were few and far between, Fitz Hall unleashed a 35 yard shot on the bounce which flew just wide of Squizzi`s right hand upright. The Italian had it covered in all probability but nevertheless was visibly worried by the centre half`s effort.
Rangers were ultimately punished for their lack of concentration as Dowie`s side completely switched off from a quickly taken corner. With Rangers trying to make amends they piled out of the box in numbers, the ball was cleverly switched inside for the onrushing Simone Bentovoglio, and his rasping right footed effort flew threw a crowd of players before beating Radek Cerny all ends up, neslting into the bottom left hand corner.
Queens Park Rangers 0-2 Chievo Verona
Rangers could offer little in response with the lively Angelo Balanta being replaced by former Chievo player Matteo Alberti. The young Italian who never made a first team appearance for The Flying Donkey`s was fondly remembered by the followers from Verona who gave him a warm round of applause.
When substitute Alberti caused problems down the right, he was cynically hauled back by his left back counterpart. Ledesma`s subsequent free-kick was fired into the near post and was well held by Chievo stopper, Squizzi at the feet of the onrushing attackers.
Rangers did reduce the lead in somewhat fortunate circumstances as Alberti drove down the right once more before receiving a nudge in the back, the soft challenge sent the young Italian tumbling and the linesman flagged for the spot-kick - Webb concurred. Dexter grabbed the ball much to the disdain of Emmanuel Ledesma who was also keen to take the kick.
Dexter had his pentaly saved Ex-Squizzi-tly by the Chievo stopper low to his left, but thankfully for Dex, referee Webb was not satisfied. Encroachment was the call and Dexter Blackstock dusted himself off and fired with his instep into the opposite corner, bottom left to hand the R`s a lifeline.
Queens Park Rangers 1-2 Chievo Verona
Rangers tried in vein to push for an equaliser with Samuel Di Carmine, Gareth Ainsworth and Damion Stewart coming on, slotting into the unchanged formation.
Fitz Hall went close when an excellently taken corner from the left was nodded over the bar. Fitz was always stretching to reach the ball and his towering header drifted over.
It was testament to Chievo`s play that Hall was Rangers` most threatening player as the Italian rearguard were simply too clever for the R`s strikeforce, catching them offside on a number of occasions or outmuscling them to take possession.
As the game drew to its conclusion, Chievo gave a masterclass of pass and move football of which Dowie himself should take heed. One touch, fast paced passing, with precision combined with impressive movement had the visitors admirable turnout of support cheering every touch.
Lee Camp was introduced with five minutes remaining indicating that Dowie has not decided on his stopper for the opening game against Barnsley on August, 9.
Rangers: Radek Cerny (Lee Camp 85), Peter Ramage, Damien Delaney, Gavin Mahon (Adam Bolder 76), Fitz Hall, Kaspars Gorkss (Damion Stewart 77), Patrick Agyemang, Mikele Leigertwood (Gareth Ainsworth 77), Dexter Blackstock (Samuel Di Carmine 73), Angelo Balanta (Matteo Alberti 59), Emmanuel Ledesma (Romone Rose 83).
That brings down the curtain on the R`s pre-season fixtures, to read reports from other pre-seasons click the appropriate link:
Stevenage Borough 1-3 QPR.
Northampton Town 0-1 QPR.
Falkirk 2-0 QPR.
Kilmarnock 1-0 QPR.
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