Leeds United missed out on a big chance to go back to the top of the Sky Bet Championship when they failed to find the net on a miserable night in London.
Marcelo Bielsa’s men went down 1-0 to Queens Park Rangers, who also earlier this season knocked them out of the FA Cup.
Rangers were there for the taking after coming into the game on a run of seven straight defeats and leaking goals, but despite having plenty of possession United’s lack of creativity where it counts saw them fail to trouble home keeper Joe Lumley enough.
They started well enough, but as a sign of things to come good work by Patrick Bamford and Mateusz Klich was wasted as Pablo Hernandez’s weak shot went wide.
Leeds keeper Kiko Casilla made his first save, an easy one to deny Eberechi Eze’s shot, before Kalvin Phillips brought Lumley into his first serious action with a header from a corner that was tipped over.
Tyler Roberts was next to test the home keeper with a strike that was saved by the diving Lumley.
Bamford could not keep his volley down after meeting Luke Ayling’s cross and the frustrations were beginning to mount, particularly when a brilliant low cross by Hernandez somehow just evaded the diving in Bamford and the far post.
Leeds’ attacking rhythm went slightly when they played the last seven minutes of the first half with 10 men after skipper Liam Cooper went off to get treatment on a cut head, but they still remained largely in control up to the break.
United have been used to making good starts to second halves, but they were to get a shock this time as Rangers put away the first real chance they had all evening.
After Massimo Luongo got free down the right his low cross was turned in at the near post by Luke freeman and after looking in control suddenly United were left chasing the game.
They dominated possession, but the lack of a good final ball was hampering their chances of getting back in the game and it was the hosts who looked more like scoring when a half-blocked shot fell invitingly for Nahki Wells in the area. Keeper Casilla was out fast, however, to deny the Rangers striker.
Ezgjan Alioski hit one long range shot well wide and Cooper headed wide from a corner, but for all their promising positions Leeds looked shot-shy.
Freeman did not need prompting to shoot at the other end. His low 20-yard strike was going wide, but was touched by Casilla. From the resulting corner the ball was only cleared to the edge of the box and Luongo’s volley flashed inches over.
Alioski’s mis-hit cross had to be tipped over by Lumley and nothing came of the corner with the delivery proving as poor as it had been all night.
Substitute Barry Douglas had a great chance not long after coming on when found in space on the edge of the box, but his shot was sent over the bar.
Leeds finally had more intent in their football and the best move of the night saw second sub Stuart Dallas combine with Roberts and Bamford only to send his shot too close to Lumley who then somehow grabbed the rebound with Bamford ready to pounce.
No more opportunities were created, though, with the home team running the clock down legally and illegally in five minutes of injury-time.
In fact it was Rangers who could have scored when Bright Osayi-Samuel’s low shot had to be well saved low down by Casilla.
The result left Leeds in third place with ground now to make up if they are to earn an automatic promotion spot and a huge game to come against West Brom on Friday.
Leeds United 0
Tuesday, February 26, 2019
Sky Bet Championship
QPR: Lumley, Furlong, Leistner, Hall, Bidwell, Wszolek, Cousins, Luongo, Freeman (Scowen 86), Eze (Osayi-Samuel 77), Wells (Hemed 83).
Leeds: Casilla, Ayling (Dallas 73), Jansson, Cooper, Alioski (Brown 81), Phillips (Douglas 65), Hernandez, Klich, Roberts, Harrison, Bamford.
Referee: Andy Davies.