Man United beats QPR 2-0 in Premier League
LONDON (AP) — Rafael da Silva and veteran Ryan Giggs scored in either half Saturday as Manchester United kept up its march toward the Premier League title with a 2-0 win at relegation struggler Queens Park Rangers.
Rafael fired in a shot from 20 yards in the 23rd minute to put United ahead and Giggs then added the second in the 80th to mark his 999th game for club and country.
“He’s delivered again,” United manager Alex Ferguson said of the 39-year-old Giggs. “He’s an amazing man.”
The win extends United’s lead atop the standings to 15 points ahead of defending champion Manchester City, which plays Chelsea on Sunday.
QPR, meanwhile, moved ever closer to relegation as Harry Redknapp’s team remained last with 17 points, seven points from safety with just 11 games remaining.
“This leaves us bottom today, but we won’t be bottom at the end of the season. I still feel we’ll get out of it,” Redknapp said.
“You probably think I’m mad, but I don’t think I am,” he added. “Everybody else has written us off, but I haven’t. I still feel we have a chance.”
Rafael’s twin brother Fabio is on loan at QPR from United, but was not eligible to play against his mother club because of the terms of the deal.
He could only watch as Rafael put United ahead by rifling home a sublime strike from distance after Julio Cesar’s clearance fell at his feet.
“I said to him he must have closed his eyes,” Ferguson said with a smile when asked about Rafael’s goal. “He has three goals for us this season. The lad has had an absolutely magnificent season and is maturing all the time. He has had a fantastic game.”
Cesar kept QPR in the game by blocking a left-footed volley by Robin van Persie, who was replaced minutes later by Danny Welbeck after picking up an apparent hip injury.
“He collided with a camera,” Ferguson said. “It seems he hit the base of it and he has got a very bruised hip.”
United continued to dominate and nearly doubled its lead when Giggs swung in a free kick for the unmarked Nemanja Vidic to flash a header inches wide.
Wayne Rooney, who has been suffering with a sinus problem this week, came off the bench in the second half, while French striker Loic Remy came on for QPR after recovering from an injury.
Remy had an effort blocked by David De Gea almost immediately before United settled and resumed its dominance.
The second goal came when Nani played a cute ball through to Giggs, whose strike from an acute angle beat Cesar.
“We created some good chances but obviously Ryan’s goal ... killed the game,” Ferguson said.
Giggs nearly added a second goal, but his looped strike rattled the crossbar.