The scoreline may suggest otherwise, but Toni Leistner’s first start in front of the QPR faithful this season may have given a glimpse of what the Hoops fans have been missing in the campaign’s opening months.
Leistner only made his first start in the win at Sheffield Wednesday before the international break, having been restricted to appearances from the bench up to that point.
But after being given the nod by Mark Warburton for the visit of Luton Town on Saturday, Leistner showed what he what was capable of, even in the act of conceding two goals as Luton attempted to come back from a three-goal deficit.
Prevailing by the odd goal, QPR can certainly have Leistner to thank for quelling the visitors as much as he did, while the German also helped the R’s out in attack as they eventually came out on top against the Championship newboys.
QPR were quick out of the blocks on Saturday, with Eberechi Eze arrowing the side into the lead after just three minutes – though it was the first of Nahki Wells’ brace that was the product of a moment of brilliance from the centre-back.
Leistner’s delightful long-range pass was inch-perfect for Wells to control and slot home to double the home side’s lead – and despite a rally from Luton, QPR’s defence held firm for the three points – with Leistner at the heart of it.
The 29-year-old recorded a match high of five interceptions (as per WhoScored), while his pass success rate of 87.1% was only bettered in the QPR side by Eze (93%) and defensive partner Yoann Barbet (87.8%).
Given he was hardly at fault for Luton’s first (which was down to a goalkeeping error by Joe Lumley), perhaps that explains his impressive stats despite the concession of two goals and the slender look to the scoreline, considering the rampant start the Hoops were able to enjoy in the first half.
And with that in mind, perhaps Leistner is to become a regular component of the starting XI once again.
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