QPR took a vital step towards Premier League survival and inflicted further damage on Tottenham's hopes of a top four finish with a crucial victory at Loftus Road.
Adel Taarabt's first-half free-kick gave Mark Hughes' side the win that gives QPR a crucial three-point cushion between them and the relegation places - but Spurs' slump continues as they now face a fight to earn a place in next season's Champions League.
Taarabt marred his match-winning display when he was shown a second yellow card late on for kicking the ball away - but QPR held out to add Spurs to a list of Loftus Road victims that includes Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal.
As Hughes punched the air repeatedly in delight at the final whistle, there was only despair for Spurs counterpart Harry Redknapp as he watched his side struggle in vain to find the inspiration that earned them a place in the top four for so long this season.
Tottenham have won only one of their last nine Premier League games
Spurs enjoyed plenty of possession but failed to exert concerted pressure as a decline that coincided with Redknapp being touted as potential successor to England coach Fabio Capello extended their recent run to one league win in their last nine games.
They were without Emmanuel Adebayor, who had a hamstring injury, while Redknapp also decided to drop Aaron Lennon to the bench and hand attacking responsibilities to Jermain Defoe.
QPR had proved their threat with those recent home victories over Liverpool and Arsenal - and the game plan was clear as they ensured Spurs were denied time and space to get the creators Luka Modric and Gareth Bale on the ball.
Spurs must win last four - Redknapp
It worked in the early stages, although Spurs settled enough for QPR keeper Paddy Kenny to be forced to save from Bale's header and Rafael van der Vaart's rising angled effort in quick succession.
Spurs, however, were looking hesitant in defence with both goalkeeper Brad Friedel and his defenders displaying signs of real uncertainty - and they fell behind after 24 minutes.
The visitors were unhappy when referee Mark Clattenburg penalised Sandro when he battled for possession with Taarabt, and were feeling an even greater sense of grievance when he curved a low free-kick beyond Friedel from 25 yards as he dived away to his right.
Spurs were showing little of the rhythm and pace that had been their trademark earlier in the season and wasted an opportunity to draw level when Defoe headed over after Kenny could only push out Van der Vaart's powerful effort.
And Redknapp reacted with a positive move at the restart, replacing Sandro with Lennon in an attempt to give Spurs better balance and greater penetration.
QPR 'worthy winners' but Adel Taarabt dismissal wrong - Mark Hughes
Spurs also introduced Danny Rose for Benoit Assout-Ekotto as they continued to spend time in QPR territory but his first contribution was a defensive one as he blocked superbly when Bobby Zamora turned in the area and shaped to shoot only 10 yards out.
The frustration was mounting for Spurs as the game entered the last 20 minutes, even more so when Van der Vaart collected a loose ball in the area but fired wastefully over the top, beating the turf in his annoyance at an opportunity missed.
QPR's defensive defiance was tested even further with 12 minutes left when Taarabt was shown a second yellow card by referee Mark Clattenburg, who had infuriated the home fans seconds earlier by declining to punish Scott Parker despite delivering a lengthy lecture after a theatrical fall.
Spurs continued to apply pressure but Kenny made late saves from Modric and Van der Vaart to spark scenes of elation around Loftus Road after another impressive win.
QPR boss Mark Hughes:
"It was a great goal from Adel and he showed his ability once again. I thought as a performance he was really disciplined in his approach to his defensive role.
"He knew it was a key element of what we were tying to do today in terms of tracking the runs of Kyle Walker and he did it really well, it doesn't come naturally to him but he did it."
Hughes on his side's survival hopes:
"I just think when we come here there is a determination and I think away from home we've been possibly guilty of being a little bit passive on our travels and not being able to create the intensity we have here.
"It will (go to the last game). We have got three games left - three very difficult games. We must try in the last two (away) games, we have to address our away form."
Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp:
"We had enough of the ball and enough chances - I don't think Brad Friedel has had a save to make in all honesty, we just couldn't score.
"We just couldn't get the break, we just needed a bit of luck in front of goal today."
Full Time The referee signals the end of the game.
Jermain Defoe concedes a free kick for a foul on Shaun Derry. Direct free kick taken by Patrick Kenny.
Short corner taken by Akos Buzsaky.
Corner taken short by Luka Modric.
Luka Modric takes a shot. Blocked by Clint Hill.
Corner taken left-footed by Rafael Van der Vaart, William Gallas concedes a free kick for a foul on Patrick Kenny. Patrick Kenny restarts play with the free kick.
Rafael Van der Vaart takes a shot. Save by Patrick Kenny.
Shot by Bobby Zamora from deep inside the penalty area misses to the left of the target.
Unfair challenge on Bobby Zamora by Gareth Bale results in a free kick. Joey Barton restarts play with the free kick.
The assistant referee flags for offside against Jermain Defoe. Patrick Kenny takes the free kick.
Dos Santos Giovani takes a shot. Save by Patrick Kenny.
Inswinging corner taken by Rafael Van der Vaart.
Foul by Clint Hill on Dos Santos Giovani, free kick awarded. Rafael Van der Vaart crosses the ball from the free kick left-footed from right wing, Nedum Onuoha makes a clearance.
Corner taken left-footed by Rafael Van der Vaart, Anton Ferdinand makes a clearance.
Rafael Van der Vaart takes a inswinging corner from the right by-line played to the near post, clearance by Bobby Zamora.
Substitution Dos Santos Giovani is brought on as a substitute for Scott Parker.
Luka Modric takes a shot. Save made by Patrick Kenny.
Outswinging corner taken by Rafael Van der Vaart.
Free kick crossed left-footed by Rafael Van der Vaart from right wing, Shaun Derry manages to make a clearance. Rafael Van der Vaart takes a inswinging corner from the right by-line to the near post, clearance by Clint Hill.
Dismissal Adel Taarabt shown a red card.
Booking Booking for Clint Hill for unsporting behaviour.
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Aaron Lennon by Clint Hill.
Scott Parker takes the free kick.
Booking Nedum Onuoha goes into the book for unsporting behaviour.
Unfair challenge on Gareth Bale by Nedum Onuoha results in a free kick.
Shot by Adel Taarabt from 25 yards. Save by Brad Friedel.
Long range shot by Akos Buzsaky goes wide right of the target.
Effort on goal by Rafael Van der Vaart from inside the area goes harmlessly over the bar.
Free kick crossed right-footed by Adel Taarabt.
Substitution Akos Buzsaky joins the action as a substitute, replacing Samba Diakite.
Aaron Lennon concedes a free kick for a foul on Nedum Onuoha.
Bobby Zamora takes a shot. Danny Rose gets a block in.
Substitution Danny Rose is brought on as a substitute for Benoit Assou-Ekotto.
Rafael Van der Vaart takes a corner.
Kyle Walker fouled by Taye Taiwo, the ref awards a free kick. Rafael Van der Vaart crosses the ball from the free kick left-footed from right wing, Patrick Kenny makes a save.
The referee blows for offside against Bobby Zamora. William Gallas takes the indirect free kick.
Luka Modric takes a shot. Samba Diakite gets a block in.
Rafael Van der Vaart decides to take a short corner.
Adel Taarabt has an effort at goal from just outside the box which goes wide of the right-hand upright.
Effort from inside the area by Jermain Defoe misses to the left of the target.
Effort on goal by Scott Parker from outside the box goes harmlessly over the bar.
Effort from outside the penalty box by Samba Diakite goes wide left of the target.
Rafael Van der Vaart takes a inswinging corner to the near post, save by Patrick Kenny.
Samba Diakite has an effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the left of the target.
Luka Modric gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Joey Barton. Bobby Zamora takes the direct free kick.
The match restarts for the second half.
Substitution Aaron Lennon is brought on as a substitute for Raniere Sandro.
45:00 +3:04 Half time
Half Time The match has reached half-time.
Gareth Bale takes a shot. Blocked by Luka Modric.
Shaun Derry challenges Scott Parker unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Ledley King.
Foul by Scott Parker on Samba Diakite, free kick awarded. Anton Ferdinand produces a cross, Joey Barton takes a shot. Scott Parker gets a block in.
Rafael Van der Vaart crosses the ball from the free kick left-footed from right wing, Clint Hill makes a clearance.
Booking Adel Taarabt receives a caution for unsporting behaviour.
Adel Taarabt challenges Kyle Walker unfairly and gives away a free kick.
Adel Taarabt takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line played to the near post, William Gallas manages to make a clearance.
Jermain Defoe has an effort at goal from outside the area missing to the wide right of the goal.
Raniere Sandro fouled by Jamie Mackie, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Scott Parker.
Bobby Zamora gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Scott Parker. Free kick taken by Ledley King.
Rafael Van der Vaart takes a shot. Save made by Patrick Kenny. Jermain Defoe has a header from deep inside the six-yard box and clears the crossbar.
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Benoit Assou-Ekotto by Jamie Mackie. Rafael Van der Vaart delivers the ball from the free kick left-footed from left wing, clearance made by Anton Ferdinand.
The offside flag is raised against Jamie Mackie. Free kick taken by Benoit Assou-Ekotto.
Adel Taarabt takes a shot. Save by Brad Friedel.
Corner taken by Adel Taarabt from the right by-line played to the near post, clearance made by William Gallas.
23:08 Goal scored
Goal! - Adel Taarabt - QPR 1 - 0 Tottenham Adel Taarabt scores a goal direct from the free kick from outside the box to the bottom left corner of the goal. QPR 1-0 Tottenham.
Raniere Sandro gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Adel Taarabt.
Free kick taken by Benoit Assou-Ekotto.
Booking Bobby Zamora is shown a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.
Raniere Sandro fouled by Bobby Zamora, the ref awards a free kick.
Benoit Assou-Ekotto gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Bobby Zamora. Direct free kick taken by Adel Taarabt.
Short corner worked by Rafael Van der Vaart, Rafael Van der Vaart takes a shot. Save made by Patrick Kenny.
Corner taken by Rafael Van der Vaart from the right by-line, Gareth Bale takes a shot. Save made by Patrick Kenny.
Rafael Van der Vaart takes a inswinging corner from the right by-line to the near post, Bobby Zamora manages to make a clearance.
Raniere Sandro is adjudged to have handled the ball. Direct free kick taken by Patrick Kenny.
Unfair challenge on Ledley King by Jamie Mackie results in a free kick. Scott Parker restarts play with the free kick.
Shot from outside the box by Gareth Bale goes wide right of the target.
Samba Diakite produces a right-footed shot from the edge of the area and misses to the left of the goal.
Adel Taarabt decides to take the corner short.
Foul by Ledley King on Bobby Zamora, free kick awarded. The free kick is swung in right-footed by Adel Taarabt, Brad Friedel makes a save.
Foul by Scott Parker on Shaun Derry, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Clint Hill.
Benoit Assou-Ekotto fouled by Joey Barton, the ref awards a free kick. Brad Friedel takes the free kick.
Rafael Van der Vaart takes a shot. Blocked by Clint Hill.
Jamie Mackie has an effort from just inside the box that misses to the left of the goal.
Benoit Assou-Ekotto takes a long range shot clearing the bar.
Adel Taarabt gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Kyle Walker. Rafael Van der Vaart delivers the ball from the free kick left-footed from right wing, Bobby Zamora makes a clearance.
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