Live Commentary: Queens Park Rangers 0-2 Manchester United - as it happened

Ryan Giggs celebrates a goal for United against QPR on February 23, 2013
© PA Photos
Sports Mole's minute-by-minute report of Manchester United's 2-0 win at QPR in the Premier League.

Manchester United knew that a win at Queens Park Rangers on Saturday would move them 15 points clear of rivals Manchester City in the Premier League title race.

The visitors did exactly that as goals from Rafael and Ryan Giggs extended their unbeaten league run to 15 matches with a 2-0 triumph.

Meanwhile, QPR's 14th defeat of the season saw Harry Redknapp's side move seven points adrift of safety.

Read Sports Mole's minute-by-minute report below to find out how the action unfolded at Loftus Road.


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2pmHello there and welcome to Sports Mole's live text coverage of this afternoon's Premier League match between Queens Park Rangers and Manchester United at Loftus Road.

2.03pmIt's top versus bottom today as league leaders United take on struggling QPR. A victory for the visitors would see them open up a 15-point gap at the top of the table, while QPR currently sit seven points from safety at the foot of the standings.

2.05pmIf United do win, their 15-point lead could only last a matter of hours as second-placed Manchester City face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in tomorrow's Premier League showdown.

2.07pmSir Alex Ferguson's men are currently on an unbeaten run of 14 matches in the league, winning a whopping 12 of those matches. They last tasted domestic defeat in November 2012 when they were downed 1-0 at Norwich City.

2.09pmMAN UTD: De Gea; Rafael, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Nani, Giggs, Carrick, Young; Hernandez, Van Persie

2.10pmMAN UTD SUBS: Lindegaard, Evans, Valencia, Anderson, Rooney, Welbeck, Cleverley

2.12pmSo, we have the Manchester United starting lineup. It was reported last night that Wayne Rooney had shaken off a sinus infection and had been included in the squad, but he hasn't made the starting lineup. Instead, the Red Devils go with Javier Hernandez and Robin van Persie up front, while Nani is rewarded for his display during Monday's FA Cup win over Reading with a place in the team.

2.13pmQPR: Cesar; Traore, Hill, Samba, Bosingwa; Taarabt, Mbia, Granero, Townsend; Mackie, Zamora

2.15pmQPR SUBS: Green, Onuoha, Park, Wright-Phillips, Jenas, Remy, Hoilett

2.17pmQPR manager Harry Redknapp has named a strong attacking lineup by the looks of it. Adel Taarabt, Jamie Mackie and Bobby Zamora all start for the hosts, while Loic Remy is deemed fit enough to earn a place on the bench. The Frenchman has been struggling with a groin problem in recent weeks.

2.23pmWhile United have been in title-winning form in the past few months, it's been a struggle for QPR at the bottom of the table. Their last win came at the start of January with that shock 1-0 triumph at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea. Since then, they've drawn four and lost one.

2.25pmThat said, Rangers' home form has been impressive in recent weeks with goalless draws against Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City respectively. For those two results alone, you can be sure that today's visitors will be taking this one very seriously indeed.

2.29pmWhen the two sides met at Old Trafford back in November, it was the Red Devils who ran out 3-1 winners after QPR had gone ahead through Jamie Mackie. Coincidentally, that was just hours after Harry Redknapp's arrival at the club, though he was just a spectator in the stands on that occasion.

2.33pmTrawling through the history books and it was way back in May 1989 that United suffered their last defeat at Loftus Road. Since then, they have earned four wins and three draws. The most recent was last season's 2-0 triumph, with Wayne Rooney's goal inside the first minute getting them on their way.

2.36pmOverall, QPR have won five of their 21 meetings with United home turf, while the visitors have triumphed in eight meetings.

2.40pmUPDATE: We have today's first full-time result from the Premier League come through at Craven Cottage and Fulham have beaten Stoke City 1-0 thanks to an absolutely stunning volley from Dimitar Berbatov.

2.42pmIt really was a thing of beauty. The Bulgarian remained typically calm as the ball fell from the air before he hammered it past Asmir Begovic from inside the area. You can read our match report right here.

2.46pmFifteen minutes until this one gets underway. What do you think the result will be today? Loftus Road is starting to get the reputation as a tough place to visit for the Premier League's top sides, but I think that the prize of moving 15 points clear for Manchester United will be something that the visitors will grab with both hands. QPR have the potential to make it very difficult for them, though they are bottom of the table for a reason.

2.50pmOf course, if things get a little sticky for United they have Wayne Rooney, Antonio Valencia and Danny Welbeck to bring off the bench.

2.55pmThe QPR players are in the tunnel waiting for their United counterparts. The start of this one is just minutes away.

0 minOkay then, it will be Manchester United to get this one underway for us. Here we go!

2 minIt's been a fairly even opening couple of minutes. United have looked to get forward as soon as they get the ball, while QPR are taking a more cautious approach.

4 minQPR enjoy a decent spell of possession, knocking it around the midfield with plenty of confidence. However, the move breaks down on the right as Evra wins the ball for the visitors.

6 minQPR get a free kick out on the right after Vidic fouls Zamora, but Granero's delivery is very poor indeed and United clear. The hosts had a number of bodies in the box there, making it a real waste.

8 minUnited break quickly through Hernandez, who races through a couple of QPR midfielder before laying it off to Van Persie. The flag goes up though for offside. It was marginal, but a correct decision.

10 minTen minutes gone and there has been little to split between the two sides. QPR have started confidently, not showing any fear in setting the tempo, but United have looked menacing on the break. Still, the visitors have yet to get into their stride.

12 minCHANCE! First proper opportunity of the match falls United's way and it's Nani who misses with a header. Young whipped in a free kick from the left, but the Portuguese winger could only flick it wide of goal from 10 yards. There wasn't a defender in sight and he really should have done better.

15 minCHANCE! Well, more of a half-chance for the hosts as Taarabt drags his shot wide from 20 yards. The Moroccan did well to create himself some space, but he just couldn't apply the finish.

17 minSAVE! There's a bit of life to this one now! Hernandez flicks his header towards goal, only for Cesar to tip it over the bar. Van Persie takes the resulting corner, which comes to nothing.

19 minYoung is getting plenty of the ball out on the left side and this time his low delivery is gathered by Cesar. The winger has been a threat in the last few minutes.

21 minAn unusually bad decision from Giggs sees the veteran midfielder break before trying to pick out the run of Hernandez. He overhits his pass when, in fairness, Van Persie looked to be better placed in the middle.

23 minGOAL! QPR 0-1 Man Urd (Rafael)

24 minOh my word! That is an absolutely outrageous strike from Rafael to put Manchester United ahead. QPR failed to clear their lines following Cesar's save from Van Persie, but Rafael was on the edge of the box to smash an unstoppable first-time drive into the top corner. You will be hard pressed to find a better goal this weekend.

26 minThe bad news for United here is that Van Persie looks to be struggling with a back problem. He's not moving very well at the moment. Will the visitors be forced into a change?

28 minSome indecision in the United defence leads to a chance for Mackie, but the forward blasts his shot into next week.

30 minIt's still unclear whether Van Persie will continue. He's liaising with the United bench and it's being reported that he's taken some painkillers. He's back running for now.

33 minThe visitors break quickly with Evra and Young before the latter offloads the ball to Van Persie on the left. The Dutchman lofts a cross into the box that evades Hernandez and QPR clear. At the other end, Townsend whacks his effort high and wide.

35 minOFF THE LINE! Rafael has scored one and now he's saved one for his side. Samba rises highest for a corner, but the full-back is on the line to clear.

36 minSAVE! Wonderful stop from Cesar! Van Persie is picked out by the Rafael, but the striker's volley is pushed away from close range by the QPR shotstopper. Thrilling stuff at Loftus Road.

40 minSUBSTITUTION: That's the end for Van Persie. The striker comes off for Danny Welbeck. I would hazard a guess and say that the Dutchman is off as a precaution. He managed to play on for a good 10 minutes after picking up the back problem.

43 minEvra looks to be in some discomfort for United now following a clash with Townsend. The defender was kicked accidentally in the head, but he seems okay to play on.

45 minWe'll have two minutes of stoppage time at the end of this first half.

45+2 minHALF-TIME: QPR 0-1 Man Utd

3.50pmThe half-time whistle goes and Manchester United end the first half in front thanks to Rafael's peach of a strike on 23 minutes. QPR had some decent spells of possession, but it was United who had the better chances as they take a deserved lead going into the second period.

3.54pmHowever, one negative for United in that opening 45 minutes was the withdrawal of Robin van Persie with a back injury. The Dutch striker struggled on with the problem before being replaced by Danny Welbeck, but he was by no means floored by it. As expected, the change looked to be precautionary if anything else.

3.57pmVan Persie got the injury by colliding with the hoardings behind the QPR goal in the build-up to Rafael's opener.

4pmSo, what can QPR do to get back in this one? They certainly had a fair share of the play in the first half, but their decision making in the final third was poor. Will Harry Redknapp introduce Loic Remy at the start of the second half to inject some dynamism into his side?

4.01pmBefore the second half gets underway, here are the other half-time scores from the Premier League...

4.02pmPREMIER LEAGUE HALF-TIME SCORES:

Arsenal 1-0 Aston Villa;
Norwich City 0-0 Everton;
Reading 0-2 Wigan Athletic;
West Bromwich Albion 1-0 Sunderland


4.03pmSUBSTITUTION: QPR make a change, but it's not Remy coming on. Instead Esteban Granero makes way for Jermaine Jenas.

46 minQPR get us underway in this second half...

47 minUnited attack instantly as Hernandez and Evra link well down the left, but Traore calmly chests the cross into the hands of Cesar.

48 minCHANCE! Cesar fumbles Nani's free header, only to recover quickly as Giggs looks to pick up the scraps. The Brazilian has been a pillar of solidity for QPR this season, but he's also prone to the occasional howler.

50 minQPR really haven't got going in this second half whereas United are looking rampant. Giggs in particular has come flying out of the traps since the interval like a man half his age.

54 minIt's the visitors who are still doing all of the pressing here. Hernandez is found on the egde of the box, but he's crowded out by a number of QPR bodies.

56 minCHANCE! Giggs casually whips a free kick into the area and Vidic is there to rise above Samba and head the ball wide. That was some tussle between those two.

60 minAn hour played here and it's understood that Wayne Rooney will be entering the action soon.

61 minSUBSTITUTIONS: Changes for both sides here as Loic Remy replaces Bobby Zamora and Wayne Rooney comes on for Javier Hernandez.

64 minSAVE! De Gea's had an extremely quiet afternoon in goal, but he's called into action by keeping Remy's shot out. The effort was a low one and the Spaniard was equal to it. The result corner falls for Samba, who heads wide.

66 minGreat persistence from Nani. The winger hustles Traore out of the ball in the QPR area before the defender recovers and feeds Cesar, who clears. He had no right to win the ball there.

67 minSUBSTITUTION: United make their final change of the afternoon as Antonio Valencia replaces Ashley Young.

70 minTwenty minutes of normal time left at Loftus Road and United still hold a slender advantage over QPR. Can the visitors snatch what would be a vital point?

72 minSUBSTITUTION: QPR's final change sees Junior Hoilett replace Andros Townsend.

75 minCHANCE! The away side have the opportunity to wrap up the points, only for Evra to fluff his lines. Mackie went to sleep in the area there and he nearly paid the price.

78 minGOAL! QPR 0-2 Man Utd (Giggs)

79 minIt looks like the Red Devils are going 15 points clear at the top of the table thanks to a goal from Ryan Giggs. A counter-attack for the visitors broke down, but they recovered well and it was Nani who picked out the veteran midfielder to fire in on the angle.

82 minOFF THE BAR! Giggs comes within inches of extending his side's lead with a delicious chip that hits the crossbar. He didn't fancy powering it on his right foot, so he chose to dink it over Cesar. So close!

85 minQPR have shown a fair amount of determination today, but it hasn't been enough. They've been fairly toothless in attack, while their defence has been uncertain. If the result stays as it is, which it looks like doing, then their survival hopes will look as distant as ever.

87 minCHANCE! Welbeck has the opportunity to seal the win following a pass from Giggs, only to dwell on the ball and allow QPR to clear the danger.

89 minCHANCE! The hosts have a late sight of goal at the other end as Samba's header is kept out by De Gea. For some reason it's been given as a goal kick, despite the Spaniard clearly turning the ball out of play.

90 minWe'll have three minutes of injury time...

90+3 minFULL-TIME: QPR 0-2 Man Utd

4.53pmThe full-time whistle goes and Manchester United have moved 15 points clear of Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table thanks a 2-0 win over Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road. Rafael got the visitors on their way in the 23rd minute with a spectacular drive from 25 yards before Ryan Giggs wrapped up the points late on.

4.56pmMeanwhile, QPR's relegation woes have deepened with what is their 14th defeat of the campaign. Harry Redknapp's side are now seven points from safety with 11 games left to play.

4.58pmAnyway, that's all from me for today. We hope you've enjoyed our coverage and don't forget that Sports Mole will be covering the rest of the weekend's sporting action so check out the site. Goodbye!

Ryan Giggs celebrates his opening goal with Robin Van Persie against Everton on February 10, 2013
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