Charlie Austin double gives QPR win over Aston Villa in EPL
LONDON (AP) — Charlie Austin scored twice to lift Queens Park Rangers off the bottom of the Premier League with a 2-0 victory over Aston Villa on Monday that eased some of the pressure on manager Harry Redknapp.
Austin slotted in the opener from just outside the area in the 17th minute and then met a cross from Eduardo Vargas in the 69th to fire in the second inside the near post.
It was only QPR's second win of the season and lifted it above Burnley into 19th place with seven points from nine rounds. Villa is three points further ahead in 15th place.
QPR was coming off a demoralizing 3-2 loss to Liverpool when Redknapp's team gave away two late goals in an otherwise strong performance, and looked determined to make amends at Loftus Road.
"We knew if we put in half of that performance today we'd get something from the game," Austin said, referring to the Liverpool game.
QPR striker Bobby Zamora said et up the opener when he chested down a long ball up toward the Villa area into the path of Austin, who calmly struck a low shot that crept inside the post.
"Great finish," Zamora said. "The goal was exactly what we needed. It gave us something to hang onto."
QPR has the league's worst defense, but goalkeeper Robert Green made sure to keep just his second clean sheet of the season and Austin put the game away after a mistake by Villa. Carlos Sanchez clumsily gave the ball away in midfield and Vargas raced down the right flank on a counter attack before picking out Austin in the area.
Austin, a 25-year-old forward who's playing his first season in the Premier League after years toiling in the lower divisions, flicked the ball into the net with a perfect half-volley.
"Today is a good turning point for us, and a great win," Zamora said.