Tottenham Hotspur failed to tighten its grip on third place in the Premier League on Saturday after being held to a 0-0 draw at Queens Park Rangers, which moved off the foot of the table.

Spurs striker Jermain Defoe came closest to opening the scoring in the first half with a dipping 20-yard strike that rebounded off the post, with QPR goalkeeper Julio Cesar reacting brilliantly to save Adebayor’s follow-up.

The host’s best chances both fell to Shaun Wright-Phillips, but he could not find the target on either occasion.

Julio Cesar also thwarted Defoe in the second period, while Tottenham full-back Kyle Walker whipped a free-kick inches over the crossbar.

Spurs was forced into a change after 25 minutes when Sandro landed awkwardly and injured his left knee, with Adebayor helping him off the pitch.

Scott Parker came on to replace Sandro as he eases his way back to action following his Achilles operation in the summer.

QPR was successful in keeping the visitor quiet in the first half, with Spurs’ frustration illustrated by Mousa Dembele picking up a yellow card for a foul on Jamie Mackie.

Tottenham responded to a drab first half by stepping up the tempo after the restart and again forcing Julio Cesar into action.

The keeper stood his ground to repel a Gareth Bale free-kick before producing a more eye-catching save with his legs from Defoe after the striker had rounded Nedum Onuoha before firing in a low drive.

Kyle Walker then assumed free-kick responsibilities for the visitor, firing narrowly over the bar after Nelsen had brought down Lennon on the edge of the area, but Spurs were unable to build on that period of sustained pressure and the game again lost momentum.

Rangers’ main threat came on the counter-attack, particularly when Adel Taarabt broke forward, and the Morocco international created an excellent opening for Fabio da Silva, whose low cross flashed across the face of goal.

And when Wright-Phillips failed to make the most of two half-chances late on, it appeared inevitable the match would drift towards a draw.

“They defended very well; we wanted to play with a higher tempo, but they frustrate you,” said Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas. “Julio Cesar had a great game. It was a difficult game for us, but we got an away point, so we are satisfied.”

The result: Queens Park Rangers 0 drew with Tottenham Hotspur 0. — AFP

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