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Premier League: West Ham 1 QPR 1

West Ham came from behind to secure a 1-1 draw against QPR on Saturday during a closely-fought but scrappy encounter at Upton Park.

Visitors QPR took the lead in the first half after a fantastic piece of finishing from debutante Loic Remy, who collected Adel Taarabt’s brilliant pass before firing home days after signing from Marseille for a reported fee of eight million pounds.

Joe Cole, recently returned to the Hammers from Liverpool, equalised with a simple tap-in for his first West Ham goal in a decade to level the game.

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce made seven changes to the side that lost 1-0 away to Manchester United in their FA Cup third round replay in midweek, with on-loan Arsenal striker Marouane Chamakh handed his first start for the club, and James Collins missing due to a calf injury.

QPR boss Harry Redknapp handed Remy his debut, with Park Ji-Sung dropping to the bench in the only change from the team that drew 0-0 with Tottenham last weekend.

After a bright start from the hosts, some typically tenacious work by Mohamed Diame down the left flank saw his low ball across the box result in a corner, from which Julio Cesar had to be at his best to turn away a Kevin Nolan header from close range.

However, against the run of play, Remy handed the Hoops the lead in the 13th minute after latching on to Taarabt’s superb through ball in behind the back four before coolly slotting home past Jaaskelainen.

With West Ham struggling to gain a foothold in midfield and being increasingly forced to utilise the long ball, Chamakh had a penalty appeal turned down by referee Howard Webb after going down in the box under some heavy pressure from Jamie Mackie.

Despite huffing and puffing for the remainder of the half, though, aside from a Diame effort which blazed over the bar and poorly-hit strike from Joe Cole, the home fans had little to cheer about, going in at the break a goal behind.

Manager Sam Allardyce’s half-time teamtalk must have had an impact, the hosts racing out of the traps in pursuit of an equaliser in the second half, as Chamakh saw an effort well blocked by Clint Hill in the six-yard box after a scrappy goalmouth scramble.

They didn’t have to wait much longer for the equaliser, though, with Joe Cole prodding the ball in after Julio Cesar parried substitute Carlton Cole’s towering header after a lovely cross into the box from Matt Jarvis in the 67th minute.

By this point, QPR were merely clinging on and West Ham went close through a Winston Reid drive before Joe Cole saw an effort cleared off the line by Fabio after he rounded Cesar on the break.

Despite their lacklustre display in the second half, the visitors still posed a threat on the break, with Stephane Mbia doing well to intercept a Kevin Nolan pass before driving up the pitch and playing in Remy only to see Reid get across to block.

Nevertheless, even though they were outplayed in the second half, Redknapp’s side managed to hold on to claim a point, with the hosts unable to find a way through late on.

Sat 19 January, 2013
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