Team: Green, Simpson (Harriman), Hill (Ehmer), Onuoha, Suk-Young, Park (Mbia), Faurlin (Granero), Jenas (Derry), Hoilett (Sutherland), Johnson (Sharif), Zamora (Wright-Phillips)
Sub Not Used: Murphy
Friend of mine, Pedja and me travelled by bus for eight hours from Belgrade to Ljubljana and arrived in the Slovenian capital on Friday morning. Had a few hours of rest in our hotel then went out for sightseeing and to meet our Serbian friend, Tijana, who works in Ljubljana. After several drinks, Tijana decided to join us on our trip to Villach.
On Saturday morning, we rented a car and after one and a half hours, we reached Villach. It’s a lovely place, on the river Drava, with a population of around 60,000 people. Villach is very close to Udine, it’s even twinned with Udine, so I expected a lot of Udinese supporters. But, Rangers fans were also present. I met one lad who came from Denmark, two German guys who even brought their flag (we will bring our new Serbian flag next time), and a few fans from the UK etc. We all gave a UR’ssss to each other on the street and the locals were a bit confused.
The local stadium was full and the Udinese Ultras occupied the East Stand. In the bigger West Stand the Udinese fans were the majority, but Rangers fans were vocal as well and we all had a good time.
I watched QPR last time in a pre-season friendly in 2009 when Rangers played in Karlovac (Croatia). We were also in the Championship that year and Jim Magilton was our manager. Since that day we have made tremendous progress. Despite we are again in the Championship, we have improved in every segment and I strongly believe that we will be back in the top flight immediately.
In the first-half, Udinese had plenty of ball possession, but we created some good chances. Left-back Suk-Young had some good runs and the defence looked very solid.
Udinese started the second-half brightly. Dusan Basta (ex-Red Star), scored a stunner. Their second goal came from a set-piece and it was a bit na√Øve. But, after being 0-2 down, against one of the best Serie A sides, our lads didn’t give up. Youngster, Frankie Sutherland, pulled one back and in the last few minutes we even had a chance to equalise. But the Udinese defender cleared the ball off the line.
When the final whistle was blown, we all jumped on the pitch to take some pictures which you can see on my Facebook profile.
I think Granero and Park had good games. They really tried hard and those two players could be vital for our promotion push.
Rangers fans didn’t all sit together so it’s difficult to estimate how many were there. I noticed in the city at least 50 fans in QPR tops. I spotted so many different shirts including all red (1982 FA Cup Final), home shirt with Compaq logo (from 1995/96 relegation season) and my favourite JD Sports shirt (from 2001), etc. But Rangers had much more fans inside the ground.
Unfortunately I couldn’t find any souvenirs from the game. No matchday programme, even the club names were not printed on the tickets.
Misa – QPR Serbia
(The above photographs were provided by Misa and used with permission)