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Christian Benteke grabs the winner for Aston Villa against QPR.
Christian Benteke was the hero for Aston Villa as they eased their relegation worries with a thrilling 3-2 win over fellow strugglers Queens Park Rangers at Villa Park.
QPR were in charge in the opening stages of the game, and Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan twice denied Christopher Samba with excellent saves.
Villa were dealt a blow when defender Nathan Baker was forced out of the game after suffering an injury in a challenge on Samba.
QPR were rewarded for their early dominance in the 23rd minute when Jermaine Jenas won the ball off substitute Joe Bennett and played it out to Bobby Zamora. The former Fulham forward saw his shot saved by the legs of Guzan, but Jenas was there to slot home the rebound, making it 1-0 to the visitors.
But on the stroke of halftime, Jose Bosingwa's free kick struck the post and Villa quickly counterattacked. Matthew Lowton delivered a cross to the far post for Gabriel Agbonlahor to head home the equaliser.
QPR goalkeeper Julio Cesar produced a fine save on an Andreas Weimann effort, but the striker would not be denied in the 59th minute when he drilled home a Joe Bennett pass.
In the 73rd minute, former Manchester United midfielder Park-ji Sung played the ball to January signing Andros Townsend, who scored in the win over Sunderland last week, at the edge of the area, and his deflected strike wrong-footed Guzan.
Moments later, though, Weimann chased down a long ball and hooked into the area, where Benteke collected well before skipping past Samba and beating Cesar with nine minutes remaining.