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Queens Park Rangers 2-2 Norwich City: Recent signings combine to earn Rs a draw with Canaries

Kenny McLean of Norwich scores his side's first goal during the Sky Bet Championship match between Queens Park Rangers and Norwich City at Loftus Road on February 10, 2024 in London, England.
Kenny McLean fires in the equaliser for Norwich to make it 1-1 at Loftus Road

New boys Michael Frey and Lucas Andersen combined after coming off the bench to give QPR a share of the spoils against Norwich.

The two January signings were sent on by manager Marti Cifuentes after Kenny McLean had levelled before Josh Sargent put the Canaries ahead at Loftus Road.

Andersen crossed for Frey to net his first goal for the club since his move from Royal Antwerp two weeks ago to give Rangers fresh hopes of escaping relegation as their unbeaten run extends to four games.

Jack Colback had put the home side ahead in the first half but the Canaries struck back, and were eyeing up another assault on the top six places until Frey's strike.

Norwich had won three of their previous four going into the game and knew that favourable results elsewhere could see them back in the play-off places for the first time since September.

Rangers have also been in good form lately, however, and they knew that a win, coupled with a Huddersfield defeat at high-flying Southampton, would see them move out of the bottom three.

Hopes of that happening were lifted as QPR began brightly, Wolves loanee Joe Hodge flashing a shot just wide on his home debut, and Norwich goalkeeper Angus Gunn denying Chris Willock from close range.

Rangers took the lead in the 27th minute as Willock's cross was weakly palmed out by Gunn and Colback rifled the ball back past him.

The lacklustre Canaries had no goal attempts on target in the opening 45 minutes but they were level within three minutes of the re-start.

A short corner routine saw Gabriel Sara tee up McLean and he fired home to spark a Norwich revival.

Manager David Wagner went for the win by sending on top scorer Jonathan Rowe and he had an immediate impact, supplying Jack Stacey, whose cross was headed home by Sargent to put the away side ahead.

Rangers are made of sterner stuff these days after a torrid December and January, and Cifuentes also turned to his bench to change the course of the game.

Denmark international Andersen went on for his debut after his move from Aalborg five days ago, and he crossed for fellow sub Frey, who only played 13 minutes on his debut last week, to turn the ball past Gunn to grab a point.

QPR head coach Marti Cifuentes told BBC Radio London:

"To talk about what is fair or not in football is relative but we played against a very good team and managed a very good performance in the first half.

"In the second half, the goal we conceded was a game-changer and in my opinion probably offside, with the player just in front of the keeper, but we should have done better from that corner kick.

"The atmosphere we are creating here with the supporters, and with the players believing what we are doing, will be massive until the end of the season.

"It was the first game for Lucas (Andersen) and second one for Mike (Frey) and I am happy for them, it was a very good combination, while [home debutants] Isaac (Hayden) and Joe (Hodge) were very good as well."

Norwich head coach David Wagner told BBC Radio Norfolk:

"Performance-wise there were a lot of good things but our biggest challenge today was to stay calm and not get involved in emotions.

"The players played some good football, put a shift in, came from behind and got the lead, but then unfortunately conceded a very sloppy goal and didn't use a great opportunity [from Ashley Barnes] for a third goal as well.

"Jonny Rowe looks like has a hamstring injury. He trained two sessions last week and that was enough for me to get him in the matchday squad and he got his 30 minutes, but unfortunately with a hamstring injury.

"We maybe have to make a scan in the next few days but we have to makes sure he comes back as soon as he can."