HT Man United 1-0 QPR: Ref justice for Hoops
Published 14:30 08/04/12 By MirrorFootball
Manchester United profited from a hugely controversial decision to grab a half-time lead against 10-man QPR at Old Trafford.
Ashley Young appeared to be in an offside position when he collected Wayne Rooney's 13th-minute through ball, and then contact with QPR skipper Shaun Derry was minimal.
But the offside went unseen and referee Lee Mason deemed the challenge was worthy of a penalty and a red card, Rooney driving home as United threatened to open up an eight-point lead on Manchester City.
Sir Alex Ferguson made two changes to his starting line-up as the Red Devils looked to go eight points clear.
Young and Danny Welbeck replaced Phil Jones and Javier Hernandez from the team that defeated Blackburn on Monday.
Relegation-threatened QPR had plenty of incentive to get a result themselves, although they were without Joey Barton and Bobby Zamora, who was on the bench, as Jay Bothroyd started a Premier League game for the first time since January.
An extended game of keep-ball from United ended with Clint Hill sliding into Welbeck to concede a free-kick in a dangerous position
Rooney's attempt to curl it goalwards was blocked by Anton Ferdinand, and while United could make nothing of that corner, Paddy Kenny flapped at another which followed soon afterwards and had to be bailed out by Bothroyd.
QPR were struggling to get away from the edge of their own box and when Taye Taiwo fouled Young, it offered Rooney another free-kick opportunity that Kenny did well to push behind.
Rooney was fortunate to escape a booking when he took a hack at Samba Diakite and he was the main beneficiary of another substantial piece of good luck a few minutes later.
Twenty-four hours after Wigan had been the subject of questionable refereeing decisions at Chelsea, it was QPR's turn to suffer as Young was clearly offside when Rooney fed a pass into the box.
Young went down under Derry's minimal challenge, and Mason awarded a penalty and sent the QPR skipper off.
Rooney did not waste the opportunity, driving home his 29th goal of the season.
David de Gea took no chances when Adel Taarabt's long-range shoot looped up off Michael Carrick, pushing it safely over his bar.
Young rose unchallenged to meet a right-wing Rooney cross but could only glance it wide.
Then Rooney found space inside the QPR box but his shot was charged down by Clint Hill.
Paul Scholes picked out Patrice Evra inside the penalty area but, after turning smartly, the Frenchman screwed his shot well wide.
Jonny Evans got Rafael out of trouble after Taarabt had robbed the Brazilian full-back inside the box, blocking the shot, then tidying up the remaining danger.
Most of the play was heading towards the QPR goal though, and Kenny had to stretch to ensure Rooney's chip did not find the net.
Welbeck then headed over a Valencia cross after the Ecuador man had been furious that a penalty appeal had been turned down.
fed Welbeck, but his shot was blocked by Anton Ferdinand, then Rooney just failed to reach a Young cross before Kenny collected.
Paul Scholes let fly in stoppage time but the veteran midfielder's shot was off-target.