This is how an incredible game played out as QPR goalkeeper Seny Dieng rescues a point against Sunderland with late header

QPR goalkeeper Seny Dieng scored a stunning late equaliser to snatch a point from a remarkable game at the Stadium of Light.

Sunderland had been minutes away from going top of the Championship table after first-half goals from Ross Stewart and Ellis Simms, but an Ilias Chair free kick turned the game on its head and set in motion an unlikely comeback.

Dieng nodded in a corner to restore parity minutes later and then raced back to his goal line to make an excellent stop from Stewart before Elliot Embleton crashed an effort off the underside of the bar.

QPR had battled back well from a dire first half, Leeds United loanee Tyler Roberts turning the tide in a lively cameo from the bench.

Seny Dieng scores a late equaliser for QPR

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Sunderland had looked all the same as if they had come through the storm and were on their way to a valuable win, settling in the end for a point that extends their unbeaten start to the season.

It was a game that had started in just about the worst circumstances for Neil’s side, Dan Ballard going down under a late challenge that was somehow not penalised. The influential centre-back was struggling to put any pressure on the foot affected, and needed assistance to be helped down the tunnel.

Sunderland’s rhythm was largely unaffected, the hosts creating a big chance when Pritchard floated in a cross for Stewart. He nodded it down perfectly into Simms’ path, but on the half volley his connection was poor and straight at Dieng. When Pritchard then turned an effort wide from the edge of the box moments later, it looked a matter of if not when Neil’s side would take their lead.

QPR served notice of their threat straight from the goal kick, Dykes winning the first ball and allowing the visitors to break down the left. The cross to the back post was inch-perfect and Adomah ought to have done far better when heading both high and wide.

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After that rapid start the game settled, Sunderland still largely on top with Pritchard in particular drifting into pockets of space and causing all sorts of problems. On the half hour mark the pressure told. Neil slightly overhit his pass, but Stewart did superbly to get a nick and turn it out to the left flank. Clarke fed Pritchard, who in turn cut inside and teed up Neil. Dieng saved superbly from the young midfielder, but Stewart reacted quickest and fired into the net on his left foot from close range.

Ten minutes later, it was two. Under pressure down their right flank Sunderland fired a long ball down the pitch. Simms took it down on his right foot and suddenly the break was on. Johansen crunched into what was actually an excellent challenge on Pritchard, but the ball ran straight into the path of Simms. After one touch he turned an effort past Dieng.

It was not that Sunderland were entirely dominant. Dykes had half a chance at the back post shortly before the second goal but didn’t connect well enough, while Dickie headed an effort inches wide of the far post just after Simms’ effort.

The Black Cats were nevertheless worthy of their healthy advantage at the break.

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QPR boss Michael Beale had seen enough and quickly turned to his bench, introducing Leeds United loanee Tyler Roberts and pushing him infield and closer to Dykes. It almost yielded a result ten minutes into the half when the visitors broke through the increasingly influential Ilias Chair. He fed Roberts who took a touch and with Patterson unmoved put an effort wide. The dynamics of the game had changed significantly, the visitors seeing a lot more of the ball in advanced areas. Chair had barely been involved in the first half but was now pulling the strings.

Neil reacted quickly, withdrawing Simms and moving to a 4-2-3-1 with Roberts on the right. The winger was immediately involved as Stewart found him with the big switch, cutting inside and drawing a love save from Dieng.

QPR were still dominating both possession and territory, though with just over twenty minutes to play they had still been unable to really force a save from Patterson.

Sunderland almost found a way through on the break as Clarke drove the middle of the pitch, Roberts gathering the pass and dinking an effort just wide of the far post.

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It looked as if Sunderland had ridden the wave of pressure and went close when O’Nien turned a Pritchard corner wide, but one lapse was enough to make it a very nervy end to the game. Sunderland committed too many bodies forward and it allowed QPR to break quickly. The ever-dangerous Roberts drove all the way to the edge of the box before was hauled down by a combination of Gooch and Neil. From the free kick Chair curled a superb effort into the top corner, Patterson getting a hand to it but not enough to turn it away from the top corner.

It set in a motion a quite incredible final few minutes.

QPR broke down the left and substitute Armstrong had the beating of Batth, driving infield and denied only by an excellent Patterson save. Sunderland just about dealt with the following corner but couldn’t fully clear their lines, and when Chair floated in a second cross goalkeeper Dieng was there to turn it the header.

The Stadium of Light was deflated but the drama, and Dieng’s afternoon, was far from done.

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Sunderland broke and when Roberts crossed Stewart got his effort away, Dieng doing well to get down and claw it clear. Embleton raced onto the loose ball and took the right option in going high as Dieng came across his goal, but the ball struck the inside of the bar and somehow bounced clear. With a corner give, it appeared that Dieng had somehow made the save.

The corner was cleared, and a breathless conclusion came to an end.

Another point on the board for Sunderland and an unbeaten run in the league extend, but one that had come with a significant sting in the tail.

Sunderland XI: Patterson; Ballard (O’Nien, 8), Batth, Cirkin; Gooch, Evans, Neil (Embleton, 87), Clarke, Pritchard (Wright, 87); Simms (Stewart, 60), Stewart

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Subs: Alese, Bass, Diamond

QPR XI: Dieng; Kakay, Dickie, Dunne, Hamalaien (Bonne, 90); Johansen (Dozzell, 75), Field, Shodipo (Armstrong, 80); Adomah (Roberts, 45), Chair, Dykes

Subs: Walsh, Gubbins, Masterson, Bonne

Bookings: Clarke, 26 Field, 29 Dickie, 37 Gooch, 84 Chair, 85

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Attendance: 37,883