Manchester United took another step toward a 20th league title with a comfortable 2-0 victory over QPR at Old Trafford.
The key incident of the match arrived after just 14 minutes when QPR were reduced to 10 men in controversial circumstances and Manchester United given a penalty from which Wayne Rooney converted. Paul Scholes later added a second to secure victory.
United began with Danny Welbeck in for Javier Hernandez up front, while Ashley Young returned on the left side of midfield. QPR decided to leave out Joey Barton and Bobby Zamora with Wednesday's match at home to Swansea in mind.
United dominated possession early, but their breakthrough came in highly fortunate circumstances. Rooney played the ball thorough into Ashley Young in a clear offside position in the area, who then tumbled under Shaun Derry's lightweight challenge.
But with the referee's assistant apparently not seeing the blatant offside, referee Lee Mason pointed to the spot and also sent Derry off. It was a horrid decision by the officials in both failing to spot the offside and then incorrectly awarding the spot-kick.
But with the decision final, Rooney stepped-up and fired home the penalty into QPR keeper Paddy Kenny's bottom-right corner.
The Red Devils continued to control possession, as the match was played almost entirely in QPR's half, but were unable to forge any meaningful chances to add to their lead before the break.
Following the restart, United came desperately close to adding a second just before the hour mark. Scholes played a wonderful through pass to perfectly find the on-rushing Rafael in the area, but the right-back's effort was somehow blocked by Kenny and the ball deflected onto the crossbar and away.
But the result was put beyond doubt less than two minutes later courtesy of a typical long-range strike from Paul Scholes. After QPR failed to properly clear a United corner, Rafael laid the ball square for Scholes, who closed into the edge of the area before firing a low shot under the outstretched glove of Kenny.
And United almost put an exclamation point on their victory when Michael Carrick smacked a thunderous shot against the post from fully 30 yards out.
But in the end it was a case of another job done for Sir Alex Ferguson's men as they extended the gap on Manchester City to eight points, with their rivals facing Arsenal later in the afternoon. United may have been extremely fortunate with the key refereeing decision in the first half, though in truth they will feel that their early dominance hinted at a comfortable victory regardless.