Wigan Athletic vs. Queens Park Rangers: Score, Grades and Post-Match Reaction

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Wigan Athletic vs. Queens Park Rangers: Score, Grades and Post-Match Reaction
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Wigan Athletic and Queens Park Rangers played to a scoreless draw Friday at Wigan's DW Stadium in the first leg of their Football League Championship play-off semi-final.

After a first 45 minutes largely devoid of chances, both teams missed opportunities to score in the second half. According to WhoScored.com, the teams combined for the same number of bookings as shots on target (four).

As MailOnline Sport hinted, Friday's match didn't match the excitement of Thursday's semi-final, which Derby County won 2-1 at Brighton and Hove Albion.

The result likely will favour QPR slightly, with the second leg set for Monday at Loftus Road. The winner over two legs advances to the play-off final against either Derby or Brighton.

At stake in the play-off final is a place in next season's Premier Leaguea promotion that could be worth up to £120 million, per a Deloitte report cited by Reuters. Both sides are hoping to secure instant promotion back to the Premier League after being relegated from the top flight last spring.

Chasing such a lucrative prize, both teams started cautiously in the first half, seemingly aware that the first goal could be crucial. 

The first clear chance of the opening half fell to QPR in the 37th minute, as Junior Hoilett cut in from the left and curled a cross for Armand Traore in the box. Traore climbed above his marker to make contact with the ball, but his header flew well over the bar.

Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Wigan's best opportunity arrived five minutes later after Jordi Gomez chested down Gary Caldwell's pass in the box, turned and shot on target. However, his effort flew straight at QPR goalkeeper Robert Green, who saved.

QPR went on the front foot to start the second half, Traore forcing Scott Carson to save low and to his left with a shot from the edge of the box in the 48th minute.

Wigan improved as the half progressed and nearly went ahead in the 62nd minute. After QPR failed to clear their lines, the ball fell to an unmarked Marc-Antoine Fortune, but the French forward skied his shot over the bar.

Chances became scarce again as full-time approached. Hoilett shot off target in the 72nd minute and Wigan's Emmerson Boyce headed over the bar eight minutes later.

As the final whistle sounded, both teams appeared content with the result, with everything to play for in Monday's second leg.

 

Grades

Wigan Athletic Player Ratings
Starting XI Half-Time Full-Time
Scott Carson 6.0 7.0
Emmerson Boyce 7.1 8.3
Gary Caldwell 6.6 7.3
Robert Kiernan 6.5 8.1
James Perch 6.5 6.8
Jordi Gomez 7.4 8.0
James McArthur 6.1 7.0
Jean Beausejour 6.2 6.9
Callum McManaman 6.2 6.1
Marc-Antoine Fortune 5.9 5.7
Shaun Maloney 6.0 6.1
Substitutes Half-Time Full-Time
Nicky Maynard (for Fortune, 76') N/A 6.0
Martyn Waghorn (for McManaman, 76') N/A 5.9

Ratings via WhoScored.com

Queens Park Rangers Player Ratings
Starting XI Half-Time Full-Time
Robert Green 6.7 7.4
Danny Simpson 6.8 7.8
Nedum Onuoha 6.4 7.4
Richard Dunne 5.6 6.2
Clint Hill 6.5 7.4
Armand Traore 6.5 6.7
Joey Barton 6.5 7.2
Gary O'Neil 6.2 6.6
Junior Hoilett 6.8 7.5
Ravel Morrison 6.0 6.1
Charlie Austin 6.4 6.4
Substitutes Half-Time Full-Time
Kevin Doyle (for Traore, 70') N/A 6.4
Niko Kranjcar (for Morrison, 78') N/A 5.9
Yun Suk-Young (for Hoilett, 88') N/A 6.0

Ratings via WhoScored.com

 

Post-Match Reaction

QPR manager Harry Redknapp praised his team's performance, saying Rangers "stuck at it" throughout the match. Speaking to the club's official Twitter feed, he said:

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