Manchester: Manchester United tightened their grip on the Premier League title race as goals from Wayne Rooney and Paul Scholes secured a 2-0 victory over 10-man QPR at Old Trafford here on Sunday.
The visitors endured a frustrating start when Shaun Derry was shown a straight red card for a challenge on Ashley Young, with the United man offside and barely touched by the QPR captain, after just 13 minutes.
Rooney thumped home the resulting penalty for his 30th goal of the season and his 12th in 12 matches.
Scholes scored from long-range for his third goal since coming out of retirement as United coasted to an 11th win in 12 league matches.
It enabled the leaders and reigning champions to move eight points clear of local rivals Manchester City, who were playing at Arsenal later Sunday.
Since losing 3-0 at Newcastle on January 4, the only time United have dropped points was coming from three goals down to earn a 3-3 draw at Chelsea.
With just six games remaining, they are now strong favourites to win the English title for a 20th time but they were given a significant helping hand at Old Trafford.
Despite this defeat, QPR remained above the relegation zone albeit on goal difference alone.
Rooney had threatened with two free-kicks, seeing one deflected wide off the wall and another swatted away from the top corner as United established their dominance from the start.
QPR had barely been able to get out of their own half with a Jamie Mackie effort from 30 yards their only early opportunity.
But United took full advantage of Derry's sending off to take the lead after 14 minutes.
Rooney clipped a ball through for Young and the England winger went down under Derry's challenge before referee Lee Mason awarded a penalty.
Replays showed that Young was offside and that there was only minimal contact but Mason also showed Derry a straight red card and Rooney found the corner of the net with his spot-kick.
Rangers' containment plan was ruined but they almost earned a shock equaliser when Adel Taarabt's long-range effort looped up off Michael Carrick and was tipped over the bar by David de Gea.
From the ensuing Taarabt corner, Anton Ferdinand had a header deflected wide.
But it was only a rare incursion into United territory as the champions penned the visitors into their own half.
Young glanced a header wide from a neat Rooney cross and Rooney was denied a second goal by a fine block from Clint Hill.
Rooney hit another lofted effort that looked set for the top corner only for Kenny to pull off another save before Scholes just missed with a thumping effort from distance.
Danny Welbeck had the ball in the net just after the restart only to be called back for offside and the England forward also clipped a shot wide after being played through by a neat flick from Rooney.
Just before the hour, Scholes spotted the run of Rafael and guided a pass through the Brazilian, whose shot was diverted onto the post by Kenny.
After Rooney swept a pass through, Kenny was alert once again to deny Kenny before blocking the United striker's follow-up.
But midway through the second period, Scholes doubled United's lead when he received a short pass from Rafael and hit a powerful shot into the corner from 25 yards.
As United searched for a third, Michael Carrick saw a 30-yard strike come back off the top of the post and Welbeck also fired just past the post from the edge of the area.