Controversial call sees QPR exit the Carabao Cup
For the fourth successive season, Queens Park Rangers exited the Carabao Cup to League One opponents, a curse which means their wait for a first cup quarter-final since 1995 will continue.
The two sides looked evenly matched in the early exchanges. Leon Dajaku was the first to have a go as he tested QPR goalkeeper Seny Dieng, before Barbet forced a save out of Sunderland’s Lee Burge down to his right-hand side.
Yet the hosts soon imposed themselves on the visitors, with Chair kickstarting a period of control by sending a shot wide of the bottom corner by a yard. Sunderland’s Frederik Alves then came close to slicing a clearance into his own net. He and the 2,731 away supporters behind that goal breathed a sigh of relief at only conceding a corner.
Andre Gray then tested Burge with a low effort. Without doubt, QPR had ended the half the stronger side, but it remained goalless with a place in the quarter-finals up the grabs.
The introduction of Austin as a substitute stirred the hosts. The 32-year-old was part of the Southampton side which reached the Carabao Cup final in 2017. In the 66th minute, he struck a vicious volley which flew narrowly over the crossbar.
In the 80th minute, Austin thought he’d scored the winner. The players were celebrating, and so were the supporters, then the assistant raised his flag. It was a controversially close call with Austin seemingly deemed offside after Albert Adomah’s shot hit him.
Despite the sense that they were robbed, QPR kept probing, but it went to penalties. Austin saw his spot-kick saved, before Chair blazed over and Barbet wide, confirming victory for Sunderland.