City miss chance to chase down United's lead
By Rob Haris ,APLONDON -- Manchester City missed a chance to put the pressure on Manchester United at the top of Premier League by drawing 0-0 at bottom-place Queens Park Rangers on Tuesday.
January 31, 2013, 12:06 am TWN
The inability to break through a compact QPR side means the champions are four points behind United, which can surge seven points clear by beating Southampton on Wednesday.
“We are disappointed for this result,” City manager Roberto Mancini said. “We had our chances to win, and we dominated the game, but QPR defended very well, got players behind the ball. We lost two points, for sure.”
QPR remains bottom, but is now three points behind Reading and four adrift of Aston Villa.
Newcastle climbed four points clear of Aston Villa after goals from Papiss Cisse and Yohan Cabaye clinched a 2-1 win at Villa Park that plunged the hosts into the drop zone.
Wigan moved out of the relegation places on goal difference after drawing 2-2 at Stoke, while Swansea drew 0-0 with Sunderland in a meeting of midtable teams.
At a rain-swept Loftus Road, two of the seven places on the QPR bench were filled by goalkeepers: Rob Green and Brian Murphy, who has made just one appearance for the club.
It was a clear message from manager Harry Redknapp to chairman Tony Fernandes about just how desperate he is for new signings before the transfer window closes on Thursday night.
The third goalkeeper in the matchday squad, Julio Cesar, came under pressure from the start. But in front of him, the defense remained disciplined to thwart waves of attacks.
Cesar was beaten in the 20th minute, but Pablo Zabeleta's diving header crashed against the crossbar and Sergio Aguero missed the target when the rebound reached him.
City was getting closer, with Javi Garcia curling just wide of Cesar's right post, but goalkeeper Joe Hart also had to be alert to deny Adel Taarabt with a fine save.
That block, though, was bettered at the other end by Cesar, who tipped Gareth Barry's effort wide.
The target evaded City after the break, with Aguero firing wide, substitute Edin Dzeko heading over and David Silva's fierce strike after a one-two with Carlos Tevez kept out by Cesar.