Manchester United 2-0 QPR

Wayne Rooney (above left) keeps up his excellent scoring record at Old Trafford of late by tucking away the penalty confidently in the first half 



By Alex Byrom
Deputy Football Editor from Old Trafford

Manchester United increased their lead at the top of the Premier League to eight points as they comfortably beat QPR 2-0 in a highly controversial match at Old Trafford.

Wayne Rooney scored his 30th goal of the season from the penalty spot after Ashley Young was tugged back by Clint Hill although he was standing in an offside position. Paul Scholes also scored from twenty-five yards to secure victory, as United secured an eighth straight league win, whilst Michael Carrick's shot in the second half was denied by a post.

United made two changes from the side that won late on 2-0 at Blackburn Rovers. Ashley Young after his goal to win United the game – replaced Ryan Giggs to offer United extra width on the left hand side; Danny Welbeck replaced Javier Hernandez up front.

QPR meanwhile were forced into three changes. Joey Barton had nine yellow cards and another would result in a two-match ban, so he was rested, Booby Zamora had a thigh problem and was relegated to the bench and Nedum Onuoha came in at right back. Jay Bothroyd came in to start his first game since a 3-2 defeat by Manchester City in November. 

QPR manager Mark Hughes had told his players to go out and 'enjoy' themselves as there were no expectations on them. Yet they were under pressure from the first minute to the last.


Sir Alex Ferguson has now won 52 out of 70 games against former players as managers. He is unbeaten in his last 30 games against them since a 4-3 defeat at Blackburn in February 2006 when they were managed by Mark Hughes. 

United peppered the visitors' goal with in excess of 20 attempts as Hughes, who won two titles as a player at Old Trafford, endured a miserable return to his former club.

United started with pace, venom and width as they looked to get an early goal – like they did at Loftus Road earlier in the season.

Paddy Kenny denied Rooney from a free-kick when Ashley Young was brought down on the edge of the box.

However, it would be the next foul on the England man that would cause the most controversy. Rooney slipped the ball through for Young, who was half a yard offside and although he went down very easily he did get a slight tug from the QPR Captain. However, referee Lee Mason was a little hasty in reaching for a red card.

The United striker fired in from the penalty spot.

It was a huge call by Lancashire referee Mason, Young going down after Derry made contact with the England international, and left the visitors, now without a Premier League clean sheet in 23 outings, with 10 men for more than 75 minutes.

They might have been fortunate to take the lead but no-one watching could deny that United were better than their struggling opponents.


Since he first came to the Premier League, Ashley Young has won the most penalties than any other player (7). 

QPR deserve credit for the way they battled on after falling a man down but Young, who was unmarked and eight yards out, spurned a fine chance to double the lead after Rooney's 23rd-minute pin-point cross; he couldn’t quite get the required contact and it flew wide.

Yet a mistake by Rafael da Silva almost allowed Adel Taarabt a chance to score, Jonny Evans making a vital block to deny QPR an equaliser. But the ball looped up and had to be tipped over by David de Gea, who could have spent 85 minutes reading a magazine.

As QPR defended deeply, you got the feeling the red card had also knocked United out of their stride as they now struggled to get any kind of rhythm and couldn’t get in behind the QPR defence.

In the second half, the flag did go up to deny United as Danny Welbeck was rightly called offside when he tapped in from Valencia’s cross. 

Rafael then somehow saw his low effort hit Kenny before deflecting on to the woodwork and rebounding to safety before Scholes made sure of the points with his third goal since coming out of retirement.

Again Rafael was involved. A corner was cleared and Taarabt made a hash of the clearance and the Brazilian laid the ball into the midfielder's path before the former England international found the target with a perfectly executed low drive from outside the area beyond the despairing Kenny in the 68th minute.

Michael Carrick was denied by the woodwork; his 30 yard flashing drive smacking against the post with Kenny beaten as United finished strongly, QPR avoiding a heavy defeat which would have sent them into the bottom three on goal difference.

Despite the controversy surrounding the first goal, United appear to be in unstoppable form as they race towards a record 20th top-flight crown.

They have secured 34 of the last 36 points available and their next two games are away to Wigan, who have failed to take a point off Sir Alex Ferguson's side in 13 league meetings, and at home to Aston Villa, who have won one of their last nine league games.


Sunday 8th April

Barclays Premier League

Old Trafford


Manchester United 2-0 Queens Park Rangers                              KO 1:30pm                (HT 1-0)

Rooney 15 (pen)
Scholes 68


Manchester United:  01. De Gea- 6.5/10, 21. Rafael- 8/10 (Jones 74- 4/10), 06. Evans- 7/10, 05. R. Ferdinand- 7/10, 03. Evra- 5.5/10, 25. Valencia- 7/10, 18. Scholes- 9/10 (Cleverley 74- 4/10), 16. Carrick- 8/10, 18. Young- 7/10 (Giggs 61- 3/10), 10. Rooney- 7.5/10, 19. Welbeck- 7.5/10.

Subs not used:  40, Amos, 13. Park, 42. Pogba, 14. Hernandez

Booked:     Rafael (73)


QPR:  01. Kenny- 7.5/10, 42. Onuoha- 5.5/10, 03. Hill- 7/10, 35. A. Ferdinand- 6.5/10, 34. Taiwo- 5/10, 02. Diakite- 7/10 (Wright-Phillips 71- 2/10), 04. Derry (C)- 3/10, 14. Buzaky- 4/10, 07. Taarabt- 6.5/10 (Smith 71- 3/10), 12. Mackie- 6/10, 10. Bothroyd- 6/10 (Campbell 81- 2/10).

Subs not used: 24. Cerny, 06. Gabbidon, 18. Young, 52. Zamora

Booked:       None

Sent-off:     Derry (15)


My Man of the Match:      Paul Scholes (Manchester United)- Rating 9/10

My Poorest Performer of the Match:     Shaun Derry (QPR)- Rating 3/10



Referee: Lee Mason (Lancashire)- 6/10
Attendance: 75,505



Match Facts

Possession: Manchester United- 65%                 QPR- 35%

Shots: Manchester United- 24                  QPR- 9

Shots on target: Manchester United- 14                 QPR- 7 

Shots off target: Manchester United- 10                QPR- 2

Corners: Manchester United- 11                  QPR- 5

Fouls: Manchester United- 13                  QPR- 10

Offside: Manchester United- 4                    QPR- 1

Assists: Manchester United- Rafael               QPR- None


Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

"The unity and spirit you get when players stay together is now coming through. Paul (Scholes) has been terrific since he came back. He's showed that he has still got it and he's been an integral part of what we have done over the last few weeks- he has the ability to control games and he has got a goal today and performed really well. This has probably been his best match since returning. That trip to St Andrews was fantastic and has really helped galvanise the players, unite them as a group and has helped them to take their minds of the rigours of the season and training- it was a great experience for the lads. The players have done really well over the last few weeks in training and we are seeing results on the pitch. I was a little bit disappointed after their man was sent off because it put us in the comfort zone and they couldn't really afford to attack if they didn't want to be hit on the counter. We were too casual after that up to half-time. Ashley (Young) was a yard offside for the first goal for the penalty and I can fully understand why Mark is angry. There have been a lot of decisions like that in the last few weeks which have been incorrect and fairly clear-cut for the officials. It didn't help us at all. I think that we were more confident before the man was sent off because the speed of our play and the movement was very good. After that we were just in a comfort zone." 

Click here for the full post-match interview with Man United boss Sir Alex Ferguson



Queens Park Rangers manager Mark Hughes

"You should have confidence as managers that referees will get the key decisions right in matches. Just lately a lot of managers have lost faith in them. You worry more about decisions going against you and it shouldn't be like that. You have to be 100% right to give the decisions. It is a difficult job for them and I know that they are trying to do their best and do not wish to get themselves in situations such as this. You have to be strong and really clear. At the moment people are guessing and hoping that they get it correct. That was the case today for the penalty and it shouldn't be like this. I think that the decision has changed the game with the red card for Shaun (Derry) yet Ashley Young is a yard offside in the first place so it shouldn't matter whether he has committed a foul or not. I believe we were getting into the game quite well at that point and after they score the penalty it really has a bad effect on the lads and it is easy for them to play out the game with the win in the bag really. It forced us to change our game plan and the task was much harder to play against United ten against eleven for so long. I think the players deserve credit for not caving in and losing heavily- it was damage limitation after the second goal but on another day we could have let in more so I am happy with the lads for keeping their minds focused and not giving up on the game at hand."  

Click here to listen to the full interview with QPR boss Mark Hughes after the game


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