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West Bromwich Albion
West Ham United
8 April 2012
• Old Trafford, Manchester
Referee: L. Mason
• Attendance: 75505
W. Rooney 15'
P. Scholes 68'
Queens Park Rangers
FULL-TIME!! United go eight points clear at the top of the Premier League table, for the time being anyway. The win never looked in doubt after that controversial penalty and red card, which saw Derry take an early bath for QPR and Rooney convert the penalty for the hosts. From then on a Red Devils' victory was inevitable although they had to wait until the 68th minute for Scholes to find the match-securing second. Now then, Ferguson and co play the waiting game and will be hoping Arsenal can do them a favour when they host Manchester City shortly. Make sure you stay with us for that one, but from me, thanks for joining us.
Three minutes added on at Old Trafford.
Greg Stobart reports from Old Trafford: "With just under five minutes to play, United fans are streaming out of Old Trafford to taunts of ‘is there a fire drill?’ from the away end. The QPR supporters have been in excellent spirits throughout the day but, despite the injustice of the penalty decision and red card, they must be disappointed that David De Gea has not had to make a single save of note. They’ve barely crossed the halfway line."
Valencia slips the ball through to Phil Jones on the right-flank, the defender's cross is then put behind for another corner. It's a training ground move from the hosts that sees Cleverley strike the ball at goal, which is deflected for another set-piece.
Corner to United finds Cleverley on the edge, they then try to work it back into the box but it rolls through to Kenny in the QPR goal.
And they nearly do, Welbeck collects the ball after QPR's Ferdinand loses control of it, the United forward tries to curl it into the corner but sees his effort go just wide.
United look very happy to allow QPR the ball in midfield and just soak up any pressure. You'd still fancy a third from the Red Devils on the counter, too.
WHAT A STRIKE FROM CARRICK! The midfielder absolutely smashes the ball towards goal from outside the box, not a dis-similar position from where Scholes found the net, however this time it bounces back of the post. I think the goal may still be shaking.
We're into the last 15 minutes now, with United looking like they easily see out the game to pile the pressure on Roberto Mancini's side, who play Arsenal at the Emirates later today.
Scholes comes off to a standing ovation after that match-securing goal. Tom Cleverley his replacement.
Yellow Card Rafael
Surely that's game set and match now, along with an eight point lead over Manchester City for Ferguson's men?
Goal Paul Scholes
GGGOOOOAAAAAALLL! 2-0 to United, Scholes with the long-range effort that beats Kenny. The corner was headed away, but only as far as the midfielder, who is just the man Ferguson would want to see shaping up for a shot from outside the box. He hits it low and to the left corner, just out of the reach of the QPR keeper.
Welbeck does well to hold the ball up deep inside the QPR box as he waits for support, eventually when he tries to cross it's deflected behind for a corner, which is cleared.
Rafael is in down the right hand side again but his cut-back is cleared by the QPR back-four.
You'd definitely still fancy Ferguson's side to get a second at Old Trafford, but with all these chances (18 attempts on goal, seven on target) is it going to be one of those days? A late goal for QPR, if we get one, could be seen as justice for that penalty decision.
United come forward again as Valencia crosses from the right but a QPR head rises above the rest to just nod clear.
Just seen a replay of the Rafael chance and it was a brilliant save from Kenny, the keeper getting a vital touch on the ball to flick it onto the wood-work.
Another clear chance for Ferguson's men goes begging! Welbeck this time is played in one-on-one with Kenny but the QPR keeper stops well with his feet, the United striker's left-footed effort was tame though as he lost his balance.
HOW HAS RAFAEL NOT SCORED!? Scholes chips a fantastic ball through to the right-back who somehow doesn't put it in the back of the net. Not sure if Kenny got a touch or if it came straight back of the frame of the goal but United should be 2-0 up for sure!
The attack is fluid again from the hosts but ends with Scholes driving the ball wide of the post.
Samba Diakite hits one from way out it gets a deflection of a United player and we'll have a corner to QPR, who have looked better in this second-half. Taarabt's ball is poor and United counter.
United work a yard of space on the edge of the box and Rooney fires a low drive towards goal, however Kenny gets down quickly to pounce on the ball.
Taarabt delivers it, the ball gets several touches of different players on it's way out and a goal-kick is given. Unsure as to who got the last touch there I must say.
QPR counter with Taarabt who find Jay Bothroyd, the midfielder then gets it back and wins a free-kick in a decent area...
QPR chief executive Philip Beard has tweeted his thoughts on the earlier penalty decision, at least he has a sense of humour: "Difficult to take after watching numerous replays but Ashley Young could partner Tom Daley at the Olympics. #QPR"
United go close! The striker starts the move by chasing down Mackie on the left-wing, the ball then falls to Carrick who plays it in to Young, the winger then back-heels it into Welbeck's path who fires over. Some goal that would have been!
GOAL DIS-ALLOWED FOR UNITED! Welbeck finds the net from close range, but the linesman's flag is up. Still 1-0.
And United carry on as they ended the first-half, on the front foot. Rafael is played in down the right and clips the ball into the area, Rooney, Welbeck and Young are all lined up with all denied efforts by last ditch blocks.
QPR get us back underway.
Here's our man at Old Trafford, Greg Stobart, on that dramatic first period: "As the home fans cheer the half-time whistle, Mark Hughes’ face turns a shade of puce I’m not sure I’ve ever seen before and he marches towards the tunnel where he waits for the officials. QPR are quite rightly furious with the decision that has effectively decided this game and could have a huge bearing on both the title race and the relegation battle. To be fair to the visitors, they have not allowed their heads to drop and anything remains possible while there is still just a goal between the sides. But you sense a second United goal is inevitable and thoughts are already drifting towards the 4pm kick-off at the Emirates Stadium."
HALF-TIME!! As we reach the break United are 1-0 up and firmly in the driving seat, however there was more than just an air of controversy about the incident that led to the goal. Derry saw red for his challenge on Young inside the box but replays certainly suggested the winger was in an offside position when the ball was played, as well as there being very little contact. Rooney confidently dispatched the penalty into the left corner and ever since Ferguson's men have been in cruise control. Stay tuned for the second, folks, and for the neutrals among us let's hope QPR hit back early on to make it a bit more interesting.
Scholes smashes an effort goal-wards from range but it swerves away from the right post at the last minute. One minute of added time at Old Trafford.
Young drives the ball across the face of goal from the left but no-one in the box can get on the end of it, it comes to Valencia on the right-flank but his ball back in is hacked away. When will the second goal come?!
Evra hits one from range, Kenny scrambles initially as he thinks it's creeping inside the post, but eventually it rolls wide.
Rafael hits a deep cross from the right, it falls to Young who can't find a red shirt with the cushioned ball back in. Then it falls to Welbeck inside the opponents' box but another good block saves Kenny from being called into action.
Not this time they can't, QPR head clear, but again United start again from deep in midfield.
United force another corner as they attack down the right-hand-side, can they bag a second before the break though?
Hill stops Scholes from turning on the edge of the area with a well-timed stab at the ball, United toying with the visitors on the edge of their box at times though.
Our man Greg Stobart is gracing Old Traffort with his presence today, he reports: "It’s a worn out cliche, but the penalty incident and red card has ruined the game. Everyone seems to be waiting for the inevitable second United goal that will kill the game off for good. The hosts are dominating the ball and creating chances as QPR sit deep and look to soak up pressure. The visiting fans are still absolutely fuming, constantly berating the officials and accusing Ashley Young of cheating."
Great effort from Rooney, but Kenny is equal to it. The Red Devils' striker gets a yard of space after patient build-up from them, he then tries a delicate curling shot from range but the QPR keeper scrambles over and just about hold on to the ball.
Rafael is caught napping by Taarabt inside his own box, the QPR man then looks to fire a left-footed effort at goal but Evans flies in from nowhere to block the shot. He saved his team-mate there.
Paul Scholes plays a lovely little ball out to Evra, disguised as a shot, but the Frenchman can't find a team-mate in the middle.
QPR's Ferdinand brother heads clear twice in quick succession from Young deliveries. However, whenever they clear it goes straight to United who build from the back once more.
Rafael then brings down Taarabt, the United full-back has already had a talking to and needs to be careful.
Rooney nearly gets his second! The forward receives the ball from Young, and then shifts it out to Valencia on the right flank. The winger then crosses low to the England striker who is only denied by a fantastic sliding block from Hill.
Valencia tries to lift the ball through to Welbeck but it hits Anton Ferdinand and rolls tamely back to Kenny in the QPR goal.
Rooney crosses from the right, Young glances it on with his head, from just a matter of yards out, but he can't direct the ball on target.
The first set-piece is headed behind for another, but the second is nodded out the right way by Evans.
Rafeal da Silva is the next to get a talking to from Mason after a late tackle. It's pretty feisty out there. Then, Taarabt hits one from range, which deflects off Carrick, forcing David de Gea to tip it behind.
Our man at Old Trafford, Greg Stobart, has some words on the action so far: "I fear for referee Lee Mason’s ears at half-time. Mark Hughes has not taken his eyes off the man in the middle since that penalty decision. The complaint from the QPR bench seems to be that Ashley Young dived and it wasn’t a foul by Derry. I’m not sure if they’ve even realised that the United man was miles offside. Awful officiating all round and it could have a huge influence on both ends of the table."
Young hits the ball straight into the wall, the ball comes back out to Valencia but his cross is also blocked. Michael Carrick is then nearly played in but some last ditch defending denies the midfielder a shot on goal.
Hill fouls Welbeck as he tries to turn on the edge of the box. The QPR man is furious with the decision though. Free-kick in a very good position again.
It was a very good take from Rooney, hard and into the bottom left corner. However Hughes is right to feel aggrieved as, on second look, there looks to be very, very little contact between Derry and Young as well.
Assist Ashley Young
Penalty Goal Wayne Rooney
GGGOOOAAAALL!!!! Rooney scores!
Red Card Shaun Derry
PENALTY TO UNITED AND RED CARD FOR QPR!!! Shaun Derry brings down Young and is clearly the last man, however one the ball looks to be going straight to Kenny and two the Englishman was offside when the ball was played. Con-tro-ver-sial!
Welbeck and Antonio Valencia try to link-up inside the QPR box but the return ball to the midfielder is overhit.
The visitors slowly but surely starting to build in confidence. Taarabt looks to pull the strings in the middle of the park and finds Jamie Mackie on the right wing, but Evra makes a good tackle.
Finally QPR get their feet on the ball and they muster up a good bit of play. Nedum Onuoha is slotted in behind down the right flank, but his final ball into the box failed to find Taarabt.
United have had 92% of the ball so far, QPR have barely left their half. Could be a very long 90 minutes for the west Londoners I think.
We're going to have another free-kick in a dangerous position for United, on the other side from the last one but a little bit closer in. This time Rooney forces Kenny into a smart stop as he parries it away.
Jonny Evans beats Paddy Kenny to the initial ball but it's hacked clear eventually. Young tries to deliver again but miss-hits however the ball comes straight back out to United. Early signs don't look favourable for Hughes' men.
Anton Ferdinand heads away, but United build from the back again. Young gets the ball in but QPR managed to scramble in behind for another corner.
Hit wide from Wayne Rooney, but it did get a deflection off the wall. Corner given.
The possession is all with the home side in these opening minutes. Clint Hill catches Welbeck a few yards outside the box, United have a free-kick in a good area...
United get us underway.
I lie, here is Mr Stobart again: "The last song before the players came out of the tunnel? You’re Not 19 Forever by The Courteneers. Someone is confident."
Let's hear from Greg Stobart once more before kick-off: "The players have finished their warm-ups, the announcer has read out the teams - complete with horrible rollings Rs in ‘Chicharito’ - and we’re nearly ready to go here. The QPR fans to my right are in good voice, knowing they may well not return to this fine stadium next season. Since the last match here, flags have been erected above the Sir Alex Ferguson stand on the far side - from Portugal to Ecuador - signifying the countries represented in the United squad."
And a final note on some player milestones before we get underway. Patrice Evra makes his 200th Premier League appearance today, while Adel Taarabt starts for the 100th time in his league career.
One thing QPR can be optimistic about though is this; The hosts have gone behind in five league games this season, none of which they went on to win. So, an early goal for the visitors could make for an interesting game.
United have also been ruthless in front of goal this season, having netted 76 times so far. That's just two less than their total for the whole of last season.
Back to the match facts and the Red Devils come into the game in fine form having won seven back-to-back Premier League games, getting all three points in 10 out of their last 11.
Hughes has just confirmed that Joey Barton is not in the squad because he is on nine bookings and they do not want him suspended for key games. Inevitable that he would pick up a booking if he played, you have to feel.
In fact, Rangers have only been victorious six times out of the previous 39 league meetings.
Righty then, as we wait for kick-off let's have some match facts. QPR have failed to win in the last nine meetings between the two sides.
Our man at Old Trafford this afternoon is Greg Stobart, he reports: "Good afternoon from Old Trafford as Manchester United look to pile the pressure on rivals Manchester City in the Premier League title race. The home fans filling the stadium are in buoyant mood as they arrive and the only present they want today is points, not eggs. Sir Alex Ferguson has taken no risks with his team selection, picking his strongest available starting XI as United home in on a 20th top flight title triumph."
QPR starting line-up: Kenny; Onuoha, Ferdinand, Hill, Taiwo; Diakite, Derry; Mackie, Taarabt Buzsaky; Bothroyd Subs: Cerny, Gabbidon, Campbell, Young, Helguson, Wright-Phillips, Zamora
Manchester United starting line-up: De Gea; Rafael, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra; Valencia, Scholes, Carrick, Young; Rooney, Welbeck Subs: Amos, Jones, Giggs, Park, Hernandez, Cleverley, Pogba
Ferguson has recalled England duo Danny Welbeck and Ashley Young for the clash with Mark Hughes' men, while there is no place for Nani who was expected to return from injury. Full team news to follow…
Hello and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE commentary of the first of two footballing crackers today. Table toppers Manchester United host relegation candidates QPR in what is expected to be a one-sided affair at Old Trafford. A win would take Sir Alex Ferguson's side go eight points clear of Manchester City, who play Arsenal later on.
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