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 less we say about that game between Wigan and QPR the better. Roll on the second leg— MailOnline Sport (@MailSport) May 9, 2014
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 League—a 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.
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.
|Nicky Maynard (for Fortune, 76')||N/A||6.0|
|Martyn Waghorn (for McManaman, 76')||N/A||5.9|
Ratings via WhoScored.com
|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
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:
Redknapp: "We stuck at it well; we stayed in the game; and we’re pleased to have come away with a good first leg result" #WIGvQPR— QPR FC (@OfficialQPR) May 9, 2014