Queens Park 0 Man United 2
Queens Park Rangers 0 Manchester United 2, Loftus Road, English Premier League, February 23, 2013. Premier League table toppers Manchester United had no problems whatsoever in defeating relegation threatened Queens Park Rangers as one goal each from Rafael da Silva and Ryan Giggs saw the visiting side run out comfortable 2-0 winners in the end.
Manchester United had to cope without the physical presence of Phil Jones who had suffered a nasty ankle injury in the 2-1 FA Cup Fifth Round win over Reading at Old Trafford five days prior to the Premiership encounter against Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road. The England international had left the field on crutches after a challenge on Reading and Jamaica midfielder Jobi McAnuff six minutes before the sound of the half time whistle, but Sir Alex Ferguson was hoping that the versatile defender would return to the first team squad for the important clash with Spanish La Liga Champions Real Madrid at Old Trafford in the Champions League the following month. The Prestonian had become something of a key player at Manchester United since joining The Reds from local rivals Blackburn Rovers for an estimated transfer fee of £16.5 million at the end of the 2010-11 campaign, and he had done an excellent piece of work in keeping Real Madrid marksman Cristiano Ronaldo quiet in the first leg at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid ten days earlier.
High flying Manchester United were strong favourites to win the Premier League game against table propping Queens Park Rangers, and Ferguson´s ball passing machine was in full flow right from the very beginning of the match. Mexican international Javier Hernandez almost handed the Old Trafford outfit the lead after some fifteen minutes of play, but his dangerous header was magnificently stopped by Queens Park Rangers netminder Julio Cesar. Less than ten minutes later, however, Manchester United went ahead in the contest through an accurate and ferocious long distance rocket by Brazilian full back Rafael da Silva from well over twenty yards out. Unfortunately for the Manchester team, Dutch goal poacher Robin van Persie was forced to leave the field after sustaining a hip problem in a collision with a photographer just five minutes before the interval. Following the half time refreshments, Manchester United picked up where they had left off in the first period, and continued to bombard the Loftus Park defence. The West Londoners came close, though, when Bobby Zamora replacement Loic Remy put Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea to the test midway through the second half, but his hard and low effort was well saved by the Spanish U23 international.
With ten minutes remaining of the one-sided affair, a brilliant through pass from Portuguese international flanker Luis Nani found perpetual motion midfielder Ryan Giggs, who outsmarted the offside trap of Queens Park Rangers, and hammered home an excellently timed drive from the inside of the eighteen-yard area to give the guests from Manchester a 2-0 triumph at Loftus Road. The Premier League away win against bottom of the table Rangers kept Manchester United twelve points ahead of fellow Premiership title chasers and neighbours Manchester City, who managed to beat Chelsea 2-0 at Etihad Stadium. Queens Park Rangers Team: Julio Cesar, Clinton Hill, Jose Bosingwa da Silva, Armand Traore, Stephane Mbia, Christopher Samba, Esteban Felix Granero, Jamie Mackie, Adel Taarabt, Bobby Zamora, Andros Townsend. Substitutes: Nedum Onuoha, Jermaine Jenas Ji-Sung Park, Junior Hoilett, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Loic Remy, Rob Green. Manchester United Team: David de Gea, Rafael da Silva, Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra, Nemanja Vidic, Michael Carrick, Ryan Giggs, Javier Hernandez, Ashley Young, Luis Nani, Robin van Persie. Substitutes: Jonny Evans, Antonio Valencia, Oliveira Anderson, Tom Cleverley, Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck, Anders Lindegaard.
Ryan Giggs Quickfacts
Ryan Giggs made his 757th start for Manchester United against Newcastle United at St James´ Park on the 4th of January 2012, surpassing Sir Bobby Charlton’s record. The defending champions were a goal down at the half-time break, and conceded two more goals in the second period to lose 3-0.