Congratulations, Queens Park Rangers, on your promotion to the Premier League! QPR beat Derby County in the Championship Playoff Final, with Bobby Zamora putting a 90th minute goal past a diving Lee Grant.
This means (as of now) there will be quite a few familiar faces returning to the first division: Joey Barton. Bobby Zamora. Richard Dunne. Rob Green. And, of course, Harry Rednapp.
Most neutrals were displeased with the result, however. In the first half, Derby had a penalty appeal waved away, then shortly thereafter, Dunne wasn’t punished after committing a handball.
It’s not the officiating as much as the desire to have a new face in the Premier League – or at least, to not have Queens Park Rangers returning after just a year away. Many are unimpressed by QPR, who have a hefty wage bill and play a style of football that doesn’t appeal to many watchers. Derby, however, haven’t been in the top flight since 2007-2008, when they set a record…of scoring the least points in the Premier League, with just 11.
Six years later, and such cursed form hit Derby once more. The Rams seemed comfortably on top in the final 30 minutes, after Gary O’Neil was sent off for bringing down Johnny Russell as the forward went free on goal. Green was up to the challenge, saving anything Derby sent his way, but QPR weren’t making much of their rare attacks.
Then, in the 90th minute, a defensive error from Richard Keogh put the ball right at Zamora’s toes. The 33-year-old wasted no time firing in his left-footed shot – and putting QPR back into the Premier League. To their credit though, the goal was sublime, and it will be interesting to see what adjustments they make for the upcoming season.
QPR joins Leicester City, who won the Championship title with two games to spare, and Burnley, who comfortably took second, in being promoted for the 2014-2015 season.