Manchester United went eight points clear at the top of the Premier League after a controversial Wayne Rooney penalty helped them defeat QPR.

Paul Scholes also scored from 25 yards as United secured an eighth straight league win, while Michael Carrick was denied by a post.

QPR's Shaun Derry was harshly sent off for fouling Ashley Young, who was offside, before Rooney fired home.

Scholes 'integral' to success - Ferguson

But United were the better side, 37-year-old Scholes sealing victory.

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.

All in all, it is going to require a demise of epic proportions to prevent Ferguson from getting his hands on the 13th league title of his Old Trafford reign.

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.

Did you know?

Sir Alex Ferguson has now won 52 out of 70 Premier League games against one of his former players. He is unbeaten in his last 30 Premier League matches against them, since a 4-3 defeat at Mark Hughes's Blackburn in February 2006.

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.

Paddy Kenny had already denied Rooney from a free-kick when the United striker fired his side ahead from the penalty spot after Derry, the captain, was harshly dismissed for a 14th-minute challenge on Young, who was clearly in an offside position.

It was a huge call by referee Lee 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.

Struggling clubs hard done by refs - Hughes

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.

The relegation-threatened Londoners deliberately left midfielder Joey Barton, who is on nine bookings, out ahead of Wednesday's must-win home game with Swansea.

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.

At the other end Rafael 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, the Brazilian laying 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 as United finished strongly, QPR avoiding a heavy defeat which would have sent them into the bottom three on goal difference.

Lineup, Bookings (2) & Substitutions (6)

Man Utd

  • 01 De Gea
  • 03 Evra
  • 05 Ferdinand
  • 06 Evans
  • 21 Rafael Booked (Jones - 74' )
  • 16 Carrick
  • 18 Young (Giggs - 61' )
  • 22 Scholes (Cleverley - 74' )
  • 25 Valencia
  • 10 Rooney
  • 19 Welbeck

Substitutes

  • 40 Amos
  • 04 Jones
  • 11 Giggs
  • 13 Park Ji-sung
  • 23 Cleverley
  • 42 Pogba
  • 14 Hernandez

QPR

  • 01 Kenny
  • 03 Hill
  • 34 Taiwo
  • 35 Ferdinand
  • 42 Onuoha
  • 02 Diakite (Wright-Phillips - 71' )
  • 04 Derry Dismissed
  • 07 Taarabt (Smith - 71' )
  • 14 Buzsaky
  • 10 Bothroyd (Campbell - 81' )
  • 12 Mackie

Substitutes

  • 24 Cerny
  • 06 Gabbidon
  • 18 Young
  • 32 Wright-Phillips
  • 09 Campbell
  • 21 Smith
  • 52 Zamora
Ref: Mason
Att: 75,505

Match Stats

Shots

24 9

On target

14 7

Corners

11 5

Fouls

13 10

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +3:01 Full time

Full Time The referee ends the match.

90:00 +1:54

Effort from the edge of the box by Tom Cleverley goes wide of the right-hand upright.

90:00 +1:04

Centre by Tommy Smith, save by David De Gea.

89:58

Free kick awarded for a foul by Wayne Rooney on DJ Campbell. Free kick taken by Patrick Kenny.

89:21

Phil Jones crosses the ball, save made by Patrick Kenny.

88:34

Antonio Valencia sends in a cross.

87:32

Shot from just outside the penalty area by DJ Campbell misses to the left of the target.

86:32

Corner taken by Wayne Rooney from the left by-line, save by Patrick Kenny.

86:22

Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Ryan Giggs, clearance made by Clint Hill.

86:12

Tom Cleverley takes a shot. Blocked by Taye Taiwo.

85:53

Ryan Giggs takes a short corner.

85:48

A cross is delivered by Phil Jones, clearance made by Taye Taiwo.

84:28

Foul by Patrice Evra on DJ Campbell, free kick awarded. DJ Campbell takes the free kick.

83:30

Short corner taken by Ryan Giggs.

81:44

Danny Welbeck produces a right-footed shot from just outside the penalty box that goes wide left of the target.

79:52

Direct free kick taken by Akos Buzsaky.

79:52 Substitution

Substitution DJ Campbell replaces Jay Bothroyd.

79:52

Antonio Valencia concedes a free kick for a foul on Tommy Smith.

78:40

The ball is crossed by Michael Carrick, Anton Ferdinand manages to make a clearance.

77:23

Wayne Rooney takes a shot from 18 yards. Save made by Patrick Kenny.

77:04

The ball is delivered by Antonio Valencia, Akos Buzsaky makes a clearance.

76:52

Long distance effort by Michael Carrick bounces off the post.

75:42

Inswinging corner taken by Akos Buzsaky, clearance made by Patrice Evra.

75:34

Tommy Smith takes a shot. Blocked by Rio Ferdinand.

75:04

Free kick awarded for a foul by Tom Cleverley on Nedum Onuoha. Direct free kick taken by Nedum Onuoha.

74:29

Tom Cleverley gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Tommy Smith. Direct free kick taken by Akos Buzsaky.

72:58

Direct free kick taken by Patrick Kenny.

72:58 Substitution

Substitution Rafael Da Silva goes off and Phil Jones comes on.

72:58 Substitution

Substitution Tom Cleverley comes on in place of Paul Scholes.

72:58 Booking

Booking Rafael Da Silva booked for unsporting behaviour.

72:51

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Akos Buzsaky by Rafael Da Silva.

71:56

Tommy Smith concedes a free kick for a foul on Ryan Giggs. Free kick taken by Patrice Evra.

69:54

Patrick Kenny takes the free kick.

69:54 Substitution

Substitution Shaun Wright-Phillips replaces Samba Diakite.

69:54 Substitution

Substitution Tommy Smith comes on in place of Adel Taarabt.

69:54

Paul Scholes concedes a free kick for a foul on Jamie Mackie.

67:36

Assist on the goal came from Rafael Da Silva.

67:36 Goal scored

Goal! - Paul Scholes - Man Utd 2 - 0 QPR Paul Scholes gets on the score sheet with a goal from long range to the bottom left corner of the goal. Man Utd 2-0 QPR.

67:06

Corner taken by Ryan Giggs played to the near post, clearance made by Taye Taiwo.

66:59

The ball is sent over by Danny Welbeck, Clint Hill gets a block in.

62:59

The ball is crossed by Rafael Da Silva.

62:31

Short corner taken by Ryan Giggs.

62:25

The ball is crossed by Ryan Giggs, Taye Taiwo makes a clearance.

61:41

Antonio Valencia sends in a cross, clearance made by Anton Ferdinand.

60:42

Indirect free kick taken by Patrick Kenny.

60:42 Substitution

Substitution Ryan Giggs joins the action as a substitute, replacing Ashley Young.

60:42

The referee blows for offside against Antonio Valencia.

60:16

Danny Welbeck takes a shot. Save by Patrick Kenny.

60:04

Danny Welbeck takes a shot. Save by Patrick Kenny.

58:40

Rafael Da Silva takes a shot. Save by Patrick Kenny.

56:17

Paul Scholes has an effort at goal from just outside the box which goes wide of the left-hand upright.

55:46

Adel Taarabt takes a outswinging corner to the near post, clearance made by Danny Welbeck.

55:25

Samba Diakite takes a shot. Wayne Rooney gets a block in.

55:16

Akos Buzsaky takes a shot. Blocked by Michael Carrick.

54:43

Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Adel Taarabt, Patrice Evra manages to make a clearance.

54:04

Wayne Rooney takes a shot. Save by Patrick Kenny.

52:35

Free kick awarded for a foul by Ashley Young on Adel Taarabt. Free kick crossed by Adel Taarabt.

49:59

Foul by Patrice Evra on Jay Bothroyd, free kick awarded. Patrick Kenny takes the direct free kick.

48:42

Effort on goal by Danny Welbeck from inside the area goes harmlessly over the bar.

48:05

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Ashley Young by Nedum Onuoha. Ashley Young takes the direct free kick.

46:41

The offside flag is raised against Danny Welbeck. Indirect free kick taken by Patrick Kenny.

46:30

Ashley Young crosses the ball, clearance made by Clint Hill.

45:48

The ball is crossed by Antonio Valencia, Anton Ferdinand manages to make a clearance.

45:38

Centre by Rafael Da Silva, blocked by Taye Taiwo.

45:01

The second half begins.

45:00 +1:03 Half time

Half Time The players leave the pitch at half time.

45:00 +0:16

Paul Scholes has an effort at goal from outside the penalty box which goes wide right of the target.

44:50

Adel Taarabt takes a shot. Blocked by Paul Scholes.

44:17

The ball is crossed by Ashley Young, save by Patrick Kenny.

43:56

Jay Bothroyd challenges Jonathan Evans unfairly and gives away a free kick. Jonathan Evans takes the free kick.

43:00

Antonio Valencia sends in a cross.

42:56

Ashley Young delivers the ball.

42:33

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Wayne Rooney by Akos Buzsaky. Rio Ferdinand restarts play with the free kick.

41:29

Patrice Evra produces a left-footed shot from just outside the box that goes wide right of the target.

40:20

The ball is crossed by Patrice Evra, Danny Welbeck takes a shot. Anton Ferdinand gets a block in.

40:07

Rafael Da Silva sends in a cross.

38:27

Corner taken right-footed by Ashley Young from the right by-line, Clint Hill makes a clearance.

38:23

Rafael Da Silva delivers the ball, blocked by Adel Taarabt.

37:56

The referee gives a free kick against Jay Bothroyd for handball. Free kick taken by Jonathan Evans.

37:09

Centre by Antonio Valencia, Close range header by Danny Welbeck goes over the crossbar.

35:53

Jay Bothroyd challenges Michael Carrick unfairly and gives away a free kick. Michael Carrick restarts play with the free kick.

34:54

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Taye Taiwo by Antonio Valencia. Patrick Kenny takes the free kick.

34:20

Wayne Rooney takes a shot. Patrick Kenny makes a save.

32:10

Adel Taarabt takes a shot. Jonathan Evans gets a block in.

31:42

The offside flag is raised against Danny Welbeck. Indirect free kick taken by Patrick Kenny.

30:53

Shot by Patrice Evra from deep inside the penalty area misses to the right of the target.

29:43

The ball is sent over by Antonio Valencia, Jay Bothroyd makes a clearance.

29:28

The ball is crossed by Ashley Young, Anton Ferdinand makes a clearance.

28:53

Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Ashley Young, clearance by Anton Ferdinand.

26:17

Rafael Da Silva gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Adel Taarabt. Direct free kick taken by Clint Hill.

25:47

Wayne Rooney takes a shot. Clint Hill gets a block in.

23:13

The ball is delivered by Wayne Rooney, Header from close in by Ashley Young misses to the left of the target.

21:49

Corner taken right-footed by Adel Taarabt, Jonathan Evans makes a clearance.

21:13

Adel Taarabt takes a outswinging corner from the right by-line to the near post, Anton Ferdinand takes a shot. Blocked by Wayne Rooney.

20:59

Adel Taarabt takes a shot. Save by David De Gea.

20:06

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Samba Diakite by Rafael Da Silva. Patrick Kenny takes the free kick.

18:48

Centre by Antonio Valencia, blocked by Adel Taarabt.

17:43

Clint Hill challenges Danny Welbeck unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct strike on goal from the free kick comes in from Ashley Young.

15:40

Patrice Evra fouled by Jamie Mackie, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Paul Scholes.

14:39

Assist on the goal came from Ashley Young.

14:39 Goal scored

Goal! - Wayne Rooney - Man Utd 1 - 0 QPR Placed penalty scored by Wayne Rooney. Man Utd 1-0 QPR.

13:34 Dismissal

Dismissal The referee shows Shaun Derry a red card.

13:15

Shaun Derry gives away a Penalty for an unfair challenge on Ashley Young.

12:55

The ball is crossed by Rafael Da Silva, Anton Ferdinand gets a block in.

9:54

Akos Buzsaky takes a shot from long distance which goes wide of the right-hand upright.

9:23

Free kick awarded for a foul by Wayne Rooney on Samba Diakite. Taye Taiwo takes the free kick.

6:31

The ball is swung over by Ashley Young, Samba Diakite manages to make a clearance.

6:17

Short corner worked by Ashley Young.

5:26

Unfair challenge on Ashley Young by Samba Diakite results in a free kick. Direct strike on goal from the free kick comes in from Wayne Rooney, save made by Patrick Kenny.

3:47

Outswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Ashley Young, Jonathan Evans takes a shot. Anton Ferdinand makes a clearance.

3:42

The ball is swung over by Ashley Young, Clint Hill manages to make a clearance.

3:18

Outswinging corner taken by Ashley Young, Anton Ferdinand makes a clearance.

2:07

Danny Welbeck fouled by Clint Hill, the ref awards a free kick. Wayne Rooney produces a shot on goal direct from the free kick, blocked by Jay Bothroyd.

0:00

The match gets underway.

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