Premier League: Fulham 3 QPR 2
By Football News
An early Dimitar Berbatov brace and a Clint Hill own goal were just enough to secure all three points for Fulham on Monday.
But they had to contend with a strong fightback from a determined QPR side in an action-packed west London derby.
A first-half to forget for the visitors started after only eight minutes when Berbatov calmly converted from the penalty spot, and the Bulgarian doubled their lead 14 minutes later after a defensive mishap from Christopher Samba.
Hill deflected the ball into the back of the QPR net after 40 minutes to put the home side 3-0 up, but Adel Taarabt pulled one back for the visitors when he fired in on the stroke of half-time.
QPR's performance transformed from a nightmare into a dream after the restart, with Loic Remy pulling the deficit back to one with an early goal, but Fulham, despite going down to 10 men late in the second half when Steve Sidwell was sent off, were able to hold on.
Fulham's early pressure paid off when Samba scythed down Ashkan Dejagah just inside the QPR penalty area after eight minutes.
Berbatov stepped up and coolly beat Julio Cesar to give the home side an important early lead.
Fulham's dominance continued from the restart as a lacklustre QPR side looked nervous at the back, and their vulnerability culminated in a terrible mistake from Samba after 22 minutes that gifted Berbatov with his second goal.
The big Congolese defender lost possession inside his own penalty area, allowing the Bulgarian to break free and calmly side-foot the ball into the bottom corner.
Their lead was then extended to three goals with five minutes of the first half left when, unable to deal with a cross from John Arne Riise, Hill put the ball into his own net with his shoulder.
Trailing 3-0 after 41 minutes, QPR looked dead and buried but Taarabt was on hand to pull a goal back before half-time with a solo effort that ended with the Moroccan firing in an unstoppable low shot past an outstretched Mark Schwarzer.
Spurred on by Taarabt's equaliser, QPR started the second half well and were rewarded with a penalty after 48 minutes when Giorgios Karagounis fouled Taarabt.
The spot-kick responsibility was given to Remy but Schwarzer palmed the Frenchman's tame effort into the path of Damien Duff who cleared.
Remy was able to atone for his miss three minutes later with a rocket of a shot that hit the underside of the bar and crossed the line.
Things went from bad to worse for Fulham when Sidwell was shown a straight red card for a rash challenge on Traore with little over 10 minutes left to play.
However, the visitors were unable to capitalise on the one-man advantage and a nervous home side held on to secure a hard-fought win.