Aston Villa 2-2 QPR: Cisse back with a bang - but not a win
Published 21:47 01/02/12 By James Nursey
Djibril Cisse took just 12 minutes to prove Mark Hughes right - and earn a glowing tribute from his new manager.
Cisse had only been signed the previous night from Lazio but went straight into the starting line-up at Villa Park.
And almost three years after his last Premier League goal for Sunderland, Cisse fired Rangers into the lead.
A delighted Hughes said: "I thought his goal was excellent. Everyone understands why I wanted to bring him to the club. We are delighted with the business we have done.
"Cisse was bright and brings power and pace and a good finish. That is something we haven't had in the squad before and will benefit to us. He is going to be vital.
"You ideally want new signings to have an understanding of the Premier League and the intensity they will face - particularly coming in January.
"He understands that clearly, which is why he was able to make the impact he did."
Hughes also gave debuts to Nedum Onuoha and Taye Taiwo a day after he bought Cisse and Bobby Zamora in a bid to score the goals to haul Rangers back up the table.
Owner Tony Fernandes' backing for new manager Hughes in the transfer market paid off after just 12 minutes when Cisse curled in a beauty.
QPR doubled their advantage when hapless Villa defender Stephen Warnock headed Taiwo's cross past his own keeper Shay Given in the 29th minute.
But Villa responded to pull a goal back through Bent's 100th Premier League strike seconds before half-time.
And Rangers were hanging on at the end for a point after Charles N'Zogbia's first-ever Villa goal with a cracker 11 minutes from time.
Cisse only found out 20 minutes before he got to the ground that he was definitely playing once his international clearance arrived.
Fellow Villa new boy Robbie Keane was the hosts' most creative player in the opening half as he hit the bar with a deflected shot.
The home side eventually pulled a goal back in the 45th minute when Bent tucked in Alan Hutton's low cross from the right for his fourth goal in as many games.
It was Bent's 100 top-flight goal after previous spells with Ipswich, Charlton, Spurs and Sunderland.
But the England striker was in no mood to celebrate with his side trailing and Villa were still booed off at the interval despite rallying.
Villa continued on the offensive after the re-start and they might have had a penalty when Shaun Derry appeared to handle Ciaran Clark's shot but referee Neil Swarbrick waved away their appeals.
Villa's perseverance paid off in the 79th minute when the recalled N'Zogbia finally netted his first goal for the club since joining from Wigan for £9.5m last summer as he smashed in a left-foot volley from Stiliyan Petrov's cross.
Hughes added: "It was a little disappointing because we were in the lead. If we were 2-0 to the good before half-time it might have been too much for Villa.
"We were unable to keep them out and stop them equalising. But we are still delighted we have taken something out of the game because we haven't taken many points away."
McLeish was dismayed by his team's defending - and their attacking.
"The goals we conceded were a joke. It was a pedestrian performance early on. We never penetrated, there was no imagination or creation," he said.
"But the goal before half-time gave us an injection, we demanded at half-time that if you are playing in a home jersey you have to play at a quicker tempo, especially in front of home fans.
"I would love to see us play in the first half like we did in the second. We have to be at it all the time. We have to play a more dynamic style.
"Charles' second-half performance was much more in keeping with what I expect from him. Hopefully it will kick-start his career here. He's a big player, these guys are earning a lot of money and we expect top performances."
On Bent's century-making goal, McLeish added: "Ninety of those are probably the same [as that one] but that is what he does. He is elusive in the box and has the instinct where to go."