Premier League: Rafael and Giggs goals give Manchester United 2-0 win at QPR
Last Updated: February 23, 2013 7:08pm
Manchester United opened up a 15-point gap at the top of the Premier League after a routine 2-0 victory over bottom club Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road.
Best of the Match:
- Man of the match: At 39 years of age, one remains gobsmacked at Ryan Giggs' ability to still influence a game at the highest level. The veteran midfielder was on hand to score United's second goal and was continually involved.
- Goal of the match: An absolute show-stopper from Rafael in the 23rd minute, as the full-back whacked the ball into the top corner on the volley from outside the box.
- Attempt of the match: Moments before his withdrawal, Van Persie did well to strike on the volley after Rafael's great ball into the area, but Cesar produced a fine stop.
- Save of the match: Not called into action much in the match, David de Gea was up to the task in the 64th minute, turning away Loic Remy's well-struck shot.
- Talking point: Is it now mission impossible for QPR to stay up? And is it mission impossible for the chasing pack to catch United?
A thumping strike from Rafael gave United the lead midway through the first half before Ryan Giggs sealed the win 10 minutes from time against a QPR side who rarely tested opposing goalkeeper David de Gea.
Ashley Young crosses were the chief early threat for United, with Nani failing to connect cleanly from one and Javier Hernandez forcing Julio Cesar to tip over his header from another.
Sloppy play from Cesar almost gifted United a chance on 18 minutes when his roll-out was intercepted by Nani, but the winger's teasing cross just eluded the stretching Hernandez.
United then took the lead on 23 minutes in spectacular fashion when Rafael arrowed home a brilliant 25-yard volley into the top corner after Cesar had beaten out Robin van Persie's cross-shot from a narrow angle.
Rafael proved equally adept at the other end as he cleared Chris Samba's header off the line following a corner after Andros Townsend's shot had been deflected wide.
The visitors went straight up the pitch, with Rafael again involved as his wonderful cross-field pass was cushioned towards goal by Van Persie, but Cesar produced a superb save down low to his left.
That proved to be Van Persie's last contribution as he was soon replaced by Danny Welbeck due to injury before the unmarked Nemanja Vidic glanced Giggs' free-kick wide five minutes before half-time.
QPR's marking from crosses had been poor in the first half and it continued early in the second when another Young ball in found Nani, whose free header was spilled by Cesar.
Fergie hails Rafael
Harry Redknapp introduced the returning Loic Remy on the hour mark and within five minutes the January signing was involved as his well-struck shot was pushed away by De Gea.
With 10 minutes to go, United put the game to bed after the QPR defence switched off again and Nani slipped in Giggs to drill his shot beyond the exposed Cesar.
Giggs almost scored his second of the game two minutes later when his impudent looping effort bounced back off the bar and Nani blazed the rebound wildly over, with QPR only offering a late Samba header in response.
Barclays Premier League
|15||West Bromwich Albion||15||15|
|17||West Ham United||15||13|
QPR v Man United
Gary Neville was left baffled by QPR's defending at the weekend but thinks they could still escape relegation.
QPR manager Harry Redknapp says full-back Jose Bosingwa has been forgiven for his behaviour earlier in the season.
Rafael claims Ryan Giggs is so good it has become 'boring', with the Welshman still going strong at the age of 39.