Sunderland players celebrate their progress to the Carabao Cup quarter-finals
Sunderland players celebrate their progress to the Carabao Cup quarter-finals

League One Sunderland overcame Championship hosts QPR on penalties to reach the Carabao Cup quarter-finals, after a goalless draw in West London.

Over 15,000 supporters were treated to a traditional end-to-end cup tie at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium, but the side from the third tier, backed by 2,300 fans from the North East, were the ones left celebrating.

Yoann Barbet skied the hosts' fourth and ultimately final penalty over the crossbar to secure another final eight appearance for Black Cats boss Lee Johnson, who guided Bristol City to the semi-finals in 2017-18.

Naturally delighted with his side's progression, Johnson said: “Bar a 25-minute spell in the first half, we were worth the draw and then the victory.

“The boys are battered and bruised. But that is the tempo if you want to compete at Championship level, which sooner rather than later we want to do. It is a really good learning curve for us.

“I really wanted the lads to believe a little bit more in the second half and they really did show that.

“We have got spirit. To come here and perform like we did I think shows a confidence and belief in what we are trying to do.”

Luke O'Nien played a crucial role in heart of Sunderland's midfield
Luke O'Nien played a crucial role in heart of Sunderland's midfield

The R’s will look back at a contentious decision in the 80th minute and wonder what could have been.

Charlie Austin thought he had given his side the lead with a close-range header, but was controversially flagged offside after some delay.

To add to the hosts' agony, the ball had clearly struck a Sunderland arm in the build-up. But with VAR not in operation at this stage of the competition, Mark Warburton’s men were left frustrated.

The visitors made seven changes from their defeat to Charlton at the weekend, one of which was keeper Lee Burge who pulled off a vital save in the opening quarter of an hour to deny Barbet.

The R’s grew into the occasion as the first half progressed and Andre Gray was unlucky not to connect with a floated cross before Ilias Chair was off target seconds later.

Frederik Alves nearly netted an own goal in comical fashion shortly before the break when he sliced Osman Kaykay’s cross towards his own net.

Johnson looked to shake things up after the restart and shifted to a 4-2-3-1, but this appeared to make little difference as the Championship outfit kept knocking.

Austin, a half-time introduction from Warburton, nearly enjoyed a perfect introduction when he volleyed Kaykay’s cross narrowly over the bar.

With nothing to separate the two sides and no extra-time, spot kicks were needed. But Austin missed the first for QPR.

The visitors took full advantage when Aiden McGeady slotted home before it got even better for the Wearsiders when Chair failed to convert.

Ross Stewart put Sunderland in control of the shootout before Lyndon Dykes kept the pressure on.

Alex Pritchard made it three from three before Barbet missed to send the Black Cats through.

Did you know?

QPR had defeated both Leyton Orient and Everton on penalties to reach this stage, scoring 13 spot kicks, but could only convert one of their three this evening.

The Black Cats ensured their 100% cup record against the R’s continued, having overcome the West Londoners in their two previous knockout meetings.

Sunderland ended a run of three successive shoutout defeats, which dated back to the 2019 EFL Trophy final.

The last time the Black Cats reached the quarter-final stage of the Carabao Cup they went on to reach the final, eventually finishing as runners-up to Manchester City in 2014.

Tags

SunderlandQueens Park RangersEFL Cup

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