LONDON (AFP) – QPR moved out of the Premier League relegation zone and dragged Sunderland into trouble with a 2-0 win at the Stadium of Light on Tuesday, their first away win of the season.
First-half goals from midfielder Leroy Fer and striker Bobby Zamora were enough for Rangers, who put the turmoil of Harry Redknapp’s departure as manager behind them.
They moved out of the drop zone on goal difference thanks to Aston Villa’s defeat, but could fall a place if Burnley get a point against Manchester United on Wednesday while hosts Sunderland are just two points above the bottom three.
It was the struggling Hoops who made much the quicker start, pinning the home team in their own half and firing off a series of shots at Costel Pantilimon’s goal.
So it came as no surprise when the London club took a 17th minute lead, Netherlands international Fer heading powerfully past the Sunderland stopper following a pinpoint cross from winger Matt Phillips.
Remarkably, it was the first time QPR had been leading away from home all season.
Rangers continued to press for a second, but breathed a sigh of relief when full-back Yun Suk-young was adjudged not to have handled the ball in the penalty area despite claims from Sunderland players and fans.
Fer nearly claimed his second of the night on tha half-hour, but his close-range effort hit the post and rolled along the goal-line.
Sunderland striker Conor Wickham was the next man to be denied by the goal-frame, his header superbly saved by QPR keeper Robert Green.
But it was a moment of class from Zamora that meant the visitors went into the break with a two-goal lead, swivelling and firing a half-volley from the edge of the box past a rooted Pantilimon.
Rangers began the second-half in confident manner, and limited the Black Cats to half-chances and set-pieces.
But the home team began to pose more of a threat as the half wore on, and former England keeper Green was on superb form to deny Jermain Defoe and substitute Ricky Alvarez.
Despite visibly tiring as the final whistle loomed, Rangers held on for a priceless victory.