QPR were unable to prevent Manchester United’s onwards march towards another Premier League title as they succumbed to a 2-0 defeat at Loftus Road.
A first half wonder strike from Rafael and Ryan Giggs second half doubler handed the visitors all three points in west London.
Boss Harry Redknapp handed a surprise start to fullback Jose Bosingwa after nearly two and a half months out of the matchday squad. Bobby Zamora also started in attack whilst Esteban Granero was called into midfield.
Rangers’ custodian Julio Cesar was called into action for the first time in the 16th minute when he was forced to push a back header from Javier Hernandez over the crossbar for a corner after Ashley Young had done well to pick the Mexican out in the box for United.
However, it wasn’t long before the Premier League leaders were 1-0 up through a stunning strike from Rafael, twin brother of QPR loanee Fabio, from outside the R’s box. Van Persie had outmuscled Traore and Hill on the dead ball line, after Taarabt had given the ball away, to force a save from Cesar. The Brazilian keeper managed to palm that effort away, but only as far as Da Silva who crashed a powerful drive into the top left hand corner from 20-yards.
QPR registered their first real chance ten minutes before half-time when Christopher Samba had his header cleared off the line by goalscorer Rafael after an R’s corner before United nearly doubled their lead almost immediately at the other end. Rafael picked out Van Persie with accurate cross 10-yards from goal but Cesar was equal to the Dutchman’s volley to keep the visitors out.
Vidic was next to go close for Manchester United as Ryan Giggs right wing free-kick picked out the Serbian defender but his glancing header went just wide of the post in the 41st minute.
Redknapp made one change after half-time with Jermaine Jenas replacing Granero in midfield. Zamora had picked up an ankle problem just before the break but he did manage to struggle on for a further 15 minutes before Loic Remy replaced him in attack, making his first appearance this month after being missing with a groin injury.
And the Frenchman’s introduction almost sparked QPR into life in the 64th minute when he forced United stopper David De Gea to turn the ball over the bar after turning the United defence inside and out. The resulting corner found Samba at the back post for the R’s but his header went wide of the upright.
However, ten minutes from time United made it 2-0 through evergreen midfielder Ryan Giggs. The experienced Welshman used all his years as Hill played him onside to collect Welbeck’s pass before firing past Cesar from 12-yards. Giggs then nearly grabbed his second of the afternoon as he rattled the crossbar before Nani volleyed the follow-up over the bar.
Rangers responded by pushing Samba upfront and his presence nearly handed Rangers a goal as Taarabt’s free-kick was headed goalwards by the giant defender but it went just wide in the 90th minute.
It was too little, too late as the R’s now look at a run of games against those sides around them that will make or break their season.