Sport : Football

TOON TAKE CHARGE AS QPR STUN SPURS

30th April 2012, 12:52pm

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Celebrations for Newcastle against Stoke

Celebrations for Newcastle against Stoke

Newcastle took control of the race for fourth place in the Barclays Premier League as they beat Stoke 3-0 and Tottenham slipped to a 1-0 defeat against QPR

Spurs began the day in the final Champions League qualifying position but turned in a lacklustre display at Loftus Road, where a goal from Adel Taarabt fired Mark Hughes' Hoops three points clear of the relegation zone.

QPR dominated the early proceedings and took the lead when Taarabt curled a contentiously-awarded free-kick past Brad Friedel, who was making his 300th consecutive league appearance.

Referee Mark Clattenburg then showed Taarabt a second yellow card for kicking away the ball after the award of a Spurs free-kick moments after Scott Parker and Joey Barton had squared up to one another.

The win means QPR are now 16th in the table while Tottenham sit outside the top four for the first time in five months as their poor run continues.

It was Newcastle who took advantage with a convincing 3-0 victory over Stoke thanks to two goals from Yohan Cabaye.

Cabaye fired Newcastle in front after 14 minutes, knocking home the rebound after a Papiss Cisse header had come back off the crossbar.

The Frenchman then turned provider four minutes later when he produced a slide-rule pass to put Cisse in on goal, and he made no mistake with a left-footed finish.

Newcastle's third arrived after 57 minutes with Cabaye again at the heart of things, firing Demba Ba's assist into the bottom-right corner.

Chelsea produced another solid defensive display to frustrate Arsenal as their game ended goalless at Emirates Stadium.

Blues boss Roberto Di Matteo made sweeping changes to the side which had battled to a 1-0 home win over Barcelona in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final.

However, the gameplan remained very much the same, with the Gunners - who twice hit the woodwork in the first half - denied time and space as they failed to bounce back from the disappointment of Monday night's defeat by Wigan.

Chelsea can head to Spain knowing more of the same will be good enough to progress against the odds, while Arsenal, who lost Theo Walcott to a potentially season-ending hamstring injury, still have some work to do if they are to secure third place ahead.

At the other end of the table, Blackburn's hopes of escaping the bottom three were given a welcome boost with a 2-0 win over Norwich at Ewood Park.

Ayegbeni Yakubu had hit the post for the home side after 38 minutes, but they were in front three minutes later with Morten Gamst Pedersen whipping in a cross for Mauro Formica to side-foot home at the far post.

Junior Hoilett added another four minutes into the second half, curling a shot into the top corner.

The win was not enough to lift Blackburn out of the drop zone, but they climbed above Bolton who were held to a 1-1 draw by Swansea.

The Swans took just six minutes to break the deadlock through Scott Sinclair, who unleashed a superb curling shot into the top corner.

But Bolton were level after 14 minutes when Chris Eagles provided a left-footed finish to Martin Petrov's cross.

Wigan's survival hopes suffered a setback with a 2-1 defeat against Fulham at Craven Cottage.

The Latics were looking to claim their fifth win in six Premier League matches - a run which had carried them away from the relegation zone - and Emerson Boyce smashed home from the edge of the area to give them a 58th-minute lead.

But Fulham were level a minute later with Pavel Pogrebnyak driving home a low shot, and a header from Philippe Senderos a minute from time snatched the points for the Cottagers.

Aston Villa and Sunderland had to settle for a goalless draw at Villa Park.

Nicklas Bendtner had the ball in the net for Sunderland after 75 minutes but was deemed to be in an offside position, although replays suggested otherwise.

Craig Gardner was then sent off for the Black Cats in the final minute but it was too late for Villa to take advantage.

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