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Controversial penalty sets United on way to victory

sports Updated: Apr 09, 2012 00:27 IST
Reuters
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Manchester United opened up an eight point lead at the top of the Premier League - at least until second-placed Manchester City play at Arsenal later (1500 GMT) - when they beat 10-man Queens Park Rangers 2-0 at Old Trafford on Sunday.

United won with a highly debatable first half penalty which led to the sending-off, and a trademark rocket shot from Paul Scholes in the second half, to move on to 79 points with six matches remaining.

City, who led the title race for five months before falling behind United a month ago, have 71 points and will attempt to cut United's lead back to five points at the Emirates against an Arsenal side looking to avoid defeat to move back into third place above Tottenham Hotspur.

United took the lead after 15 minutes when Wayne Rooney scored his 30th goal of the season after referee Lee Mason awarded them a controversial penalty.

Ashley Young, who was in an offside position anyway, appeared to dive after the slightest of touches from QPR skipper Shaun Derry who was promptly shown the red card by the referee, QPR's seventh dismissal of the season.

Rooney shot low and hard to goalkeeper Paddy Kenny's right and although the goalkeeper almost got a hand to the ball, the goal virtually settled the game as a contest.

United doubled their lead after 68 minutes when Scholes, who ran the show for United, scored his third league goal since coming out of retirement in January.

QPR failed to clear a corner properly and the ball fell to Scholes who smashed it low and hard past Kenny from the edge of the penalty area to seal United's 11th win out of their last 12 league matches.

They could have won by a bigger margin too with Kenny pushing a point-blank shot from Rafael onto the bar when it looked odds-on the defender would score, while United midfielder Michael Carrick also hit the inside of a post later.

Although QPR battled well, they never looked like saving the game after their early setback and the result pushed them back into the relegation zone on goal difference behind Blackburn Rovers.

With three of the bottom five looking set for the drop, Bolton Wanderers have 29 points, Blackburn Rovers, QPR and Wigan Athletic all have 28 and Wolverhampton Wanderers are bottom on 22.

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