LONDON: The ‘handshake protocol’ before kickoff was cancelled on Football Association orders before Queens Park Rangers lost 1-0 at home to west London neighbours Chelsea in the fourth round of the FA Cup at Loftus Road.
This decision, and the FA taking action, defused controversial discvussion over whether QPR’s Anton Ferdinand would have to decide whether or not to acknowledge Chelsea’s England captain John Terry.
Terry faces a court appearance over allegations of a racial slur to Ferdinand during the Premier League game between the clubs at the same venue last October. A court hearing has been set for next week but it is understood that the issue will be adjourned.
The QPR-Chelsea tie took place amid further heightened tension after reports that a suspicious package – a bullet according to some sources – had been sent to QPR earlier this week. The outcome was decided by a penalty from Chelsea’s Juan Mata just after the hour.
The Cup’s fourth-round draw achieved the remarkable coincidence of also bringing together Liverpool and Manchester United at Anfield, same teams and venue as another racial abuse storm following an incident which led to Liverpool’s Luis Suarez being banned for eight games for comments to Patrice Evra.
Brighton of the Championship pulled off the main shock by knocking out Premier League high-flyers Newcastle with a 1-0 victory. Will Buckley’s shot was deflected past Tim Krul by the unlucky Mike Williamson despite Newcastle boss Alan Pardew having selected his strongest available team.
In other games League Two side Crawley upset Championship outfit Hull 1-0 thanks to Matt Tubbs’ 57th-minute goal to reach the fifth round for the second successive year.
Last year’s runners-up Stoke had few problems with Midlands rivals Derby. They took the lead in the fifth minute through Cameron Jerome with Robert Huth adding a second nine minutes from time for a 2-0 win.
Bolton, beaten 5-0 by Stoke in last season’s semi-finals, eased through against Swansea after Chris Eagles, in the’ 56th minut, punished a mistake by visiting keeper Gerhard Tremmel.
A goal from Simeon Jackson five minutes from time earned Norwich a 2-1 win at West Bromwich in another all-Premier League clash after Marc Antoine Fortune had cancelled out Grant Holt’s first-half opener.
League Two Swindon were heroes in the third round after knocking out top-flight Wigan but they went down 2-0 to Leicester as Jermaine Beckford made it five goals in the competition this season.
Birmingham were comfortable 4-0 winners against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane thanks to goals from 17-year-old Nathan Redmond, Wade Elliott and a brace from Adam Rooney.