8 Apr 2015

Villa, QPR put on a show

9:35 am on 8 April 2015

Aston Villa rescued a potentially priceless English Premier League point after twice coming back from a goal down to draw 3-3 with relegation rivals Queens Park Rangers.

Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood.

Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Christian Benteke's free kick with seven minutes to play completed a hat-trick and secured a draw that moved hosts Villa up to 16th, three points above the relegation zone, while 18th-placed QPR's plight remains perilous.

QPR had taken the lead through Matt Phillips, before Benteke turned the match on its head with his first two goals in the opening 45 minutes.

Veteran Clint Hill levelled shortly after the break with a header and Charlie Austin snatched his 17th goal of the season to restore QPR's lead.

Benteke, however, stepped up to loft his set-piece over the wall and beyond the dive of Rob Green for his seventh goal in his last five league games to round off a pulsating encounter.

"It is always nice to get a hat-trick but it is shame we didn't get the three points. I think we deserved three points, we were better than them," Benteke said.

Villa manager Tim Sherwood had described the match as the club's biggest for years and the most crucial of his short managerial career, but his side were hit with an early sucker punch that left them playing catch-up.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs

We have regular online commentary of local and international sport.