QPR 0-0 Chelsea: Di Matteo`s men denied in fiery west London derby
London: The hysteria surrounding Anton Ferdinand`s non-handshake with John Terry failed to translate itself into goals at Loftus Road on Saturday afternoon, with QPR and Chelsea playing out a 0-0 draw in the west London derby.
The Blues failed to score for the first time in the new Premier League season, but a clean sheet, their second of the campaign, means they maintain their unbeaten start.
Mark Hughes handed Brazilian goalkeeper Julio Cesar his debut for the club, with Robert Green named amongst the substitutes, while the visitors made two changes to the side that fell to a 4-1 Super Cup defeat at the hands of Atletico Madrid, with Terry and Ryan Bertrand included.
The pre-match hype firmly surrounded Ferdinand, Terry and Ashley Cole following July`s racism trial in which the Chelsea left-back gave evidence on his team-mate`s behalf against the QPR man.
While tensions never boiled over as the football quickly became the focus at Loftus Road, they did help to produce a fast-paced and thoroughly entertaining first half.
Eden Hazard proved the focal point of the away side`s fluid play through the middle of the park, and the Belgian was afforded the first chance of the game, only to be thwarted by Cesar in the QPR goal, who also stood tall to prevent Fernando Torres 10 minutes later.
Hazard was unfortunate not to win his side a penalty after half an hour of play, going down under pressure from Shaun Wright-Phillips in the box, but referee Andre Marriner waved away any suggestion of a spot-kick as he had also done with Terry`s earlier appeal.
Yet the Rs were never under the cosh, with the hosts often displaying the tenacity to catch Chelsea on the break and put the away side`s defence under pressure, with Bobby Zamora managing to test Petr Cech.
Their cause may not have been helped by the loss of both Fabio da Silva and Andy Johnson to injury, but Hughes` men went into the break on deservedly level, albeit goalless, terms.
And it was QPR who looked most likely in the opening stages of the second period, with Jamie Mackie testing Cech well with a swivelled shot from the edge of the box, while Wright-Phillips and Jose Bosingwa were both looking to make in-roads against their former club.
Mackie`s introduction as a substitute gave the hosts` some attacking bite in the final third, and the 26-year-old played a key part in a galvanised second-half display, yet it was a John Obi Mikel error that nearly led to the deadlock being broken.
The Nigerian`s loose back-pass inadvertently played Zamora through on goal, however, the striker was unable to find the angle after rounding Cech, allowing Terry the time to get back and clear the shot.
Roberto Di Matteo handed cameo appearances to Victor Moses and Daniel Sturridge, and the former Wigan man looked lively, teeing up Hazard late in second 45 with a gilt-edged opportunity.
Yet the 21-year-old blazed his effort high over the bar, with both sides forced to settle for a point.