London: Shaun Wright-Phillips condemned former club Chelsea to a surprise 1-0 loss in the Premier League on Wednesday and gave bottom-place Queens Park Rangers their first victory at Stamford Bridge in 30 years. Wright-Phillips struck the ball into the bottom corner of the net in the 78th minute to halt Chelsea's run of four successive wins and leave its west London rival in fourth place.
Both teams were playing in the second tier when QPR last won at its west London rival, in April 1983. "I can't remember many better wins than this one, with Chelsea flying at the moment," QPR manager Harry Redknapp said. This victory could help prevent QPR from dropping out of the Premier League after two seasons. Redknapp's side is still in a perilous position at the bottom but now only behind Reading on goal difference.
Not only was this QPR's first away win of the season but also the team's first on the road since November 2011 - when Neil Warnock was in charge, two managerial appointments ago. "They've set the standard what they've got to do if we are going to get out of this mess," Redknapp said. The triumph came against a Chelsea side that had been revitalized under Rafa Benitez but is now 14 points behind leader Manchester United after the team's fourth loss of the season, albeit with a game in hand.
Despite Chelsea only drawing 0-0 at QPR earlier in the season when Roberto Di Matteo was still in charge, Benitez used the game to rotate the squad, making five changes from the side that beat Everton on Sunday. Juan Mata's run of nine consecutive starts ended when he was dropped to the bench, while midfielder Marko Marin started despite barely 20 minutes of topflight experience in England. But Benitez didn't use this game to carry out his plan to rest striker Fernando Torres, who has started every league match this season.
Despite rediscovering his scoring touch since Benitez arrived in November, Torres went into the QPR game without finding the net in the past two games after hitting seven goals in the previous six matches. And the Spain forward rarely looked like breaching Julio Cesar's goal on Wednesday - despite knowing that Demba Ba is soon due to arrive from Newcastle to provide competition up front. There was a tame low shot in the 39th minute that Cesar easily collected on a frustrating for Torres in which he struggled to find space.
Throughout the first half, Chelsea struggled to break down their resilient visitors, with David Luiz's scuffed shot flying over, Oscar's shot blocked by Cesar's legs and Victor Moses firing over. But the intensity from Chelsea stepped up immediately at the start of the second half. An inviting cross from Marin was poked wide by Moses, Branislav Ivanovic headed over from a corner, and Torres was denied with a first-time strike from point-blank range.
To inject more creativity, Eden Hazard took Marin's place on the hour, but QPR were creating moments of danger. Jamie Mackie's run on goal was snuffed out by Cahill, before Shaun Derry's header at far post from a corner was collected by goalkeeper Ross Turnbull. Moses came close when a shot spun over from distance and Frank Lampard had a goal ruled out for offside. But it was QPR who took the lead after Chelsea had failed to properly clear a corner, and Adel Taarabt teed up Wright-Phillips for the winner.