x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 29 July 2017

Queens Park Rangers 0 Manchester City 0

Roberto Mancini hailed Cesar after the veteran Queens Park Rangers goalkeeper kept his misfiring side at bay and prevented them from narrowing the gap at the top of the Premier League to just two points.

QPR's Shaun Derry battles to keep Sergio Aguero away from the ball at Loftus Road.
QPR's Shaun Derry battles to keep Sergio Aguero away from the ball at Loftus Road.

Harry Redknapp claimed Queens Park Rangers' draw with Manchester City was a bonus point in the bottom side's battle against English Premier League relegation.

A vintage performance by goalkeeper Julio Cesar kept the misfiring champions at bay and stopped them from narrowing the gap on league leaders Manchester United to just two points.

The result means QPR remain bottom of the table, despite taking points from Chelsea, Spurs and City, but gives them a fighting chance of survival.

"Of course it is a bonus point, it is a great point," said Redknapp.

"They rip teams to pieces home and away, you would take a point off them at any time. It is a fantastic result."

On a day dominated by Mario Balotelli's expected move to AC Milan, Roberto Mancini's side could have done with a moment of magic from the Italy international.

Pablo Zabaleta hit the crossbar and Cesar superbly denied Gareth Barry during the first half, while Joe Hart was also called into action to deny Adel Taarabt.

Javi Garcia, playing as a makeshift centre-back alongside Lescott, then saw an audacious 45-yard half-volley whistle just wide, before he was called into action at the other end.

Remy latched onto a quickly-taken Stephane Mbia free kick and fired a low strike from an acute angle that would have tested Hart had it not been for a deflection off the Spaniard's heel.

Mancini brought on Edin Dzeko in search of a winner, but the impressive form of Cesar in the QPR goal ensured that, despite City's best efforts in the second half, the game finished goalless.

Where Redknapp was praising a point gained, City boss Roberto Mancini was left ruing his side's missed opportunity to put real pressure on neighbours Manchester United.

Ferguson's side face Southampton at Old Trafford tomorrow evening knowing a victory would re-establish the seven-point lead they built up over the festive period but even if the Red Devils are successful Mancini is not ready to throw in the towel.

"We lost two points, this is sure," he said. "But the season is long and I think I can say nothing because we played well, we had the chances but didn't score - that is all it is.

"We are disappointed with this result because we had a lot of chances to win, we dominated this game but when you play like this and don't score quickly it can be difficult."

"QPR defended very well and got players behind the ball and Julio Cesar was incredible tonight."

Mancini admitted the impending departure of Balotelli, who is set to sign a four-and-a-half year deal with AC Milan later today, could adversely affect City's title hopes.

"It is difficult because I lost one important striker and that could be important in the next 14 games," he said.

"But it is important for Mario - to be back in Italy, back with his family and to play for Milan."

sports@thenational.ae

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE