Manchester United beat 10-man Queens Park Rangers 2-0 to extend its lead over Manchester City to eight points atop English soccer’s Premier League.
Wayne Rooney and Paul Scholes got goals at Old Trafford for United, which is seeking a record-extending 20th championship. QPR’s Shaun Derry was red-carded after 14 minutes, with Rooney scoring from the resulting penalty.
City can reduce the gap to five points if it beats Arsenal later today. It has 71 points, with United at 79. Third-place Tottenham has 59, Arsenal 58, with Chelsea and Newcastle two points further back.
United has now taken 34 points from a possible 36 since suffering back-to-back losses to Blackburn and Newcastle and is on a run of eight straight league wins.
The defending champion pinned QPR back in its own half in the early stages, with goalkeeper Paddy Kenny needing to make a save from a Rooney free kick.
United took the lead after Ashley Young fell in the penalty area while being challenged by Derry and a penalty was awarded. Referee Lee Mason also decided to dismiss QPR’s captain. Rooney converted the spot kick for his 29th goal of the season.
Welbeck put the ball into the net in the opening minute of the second half, although his effort was ruled out for offside.
Kenny made more saves from Rooney, Rafael and Welbeck before Scholes scored his third goal since ending his retirement in January. The 37-year-old former England midfielder fired a 25-yard shot past Kenny at 68 minutes after Rafael stole the ball from QPR’s Adel Taarabt.
Michael Carrick almost added a third goal for United, but his long-range shot smashed against a post and bounced clear.
The defeat leaves QPR on 28 points, only outside the three- team relegation positions on goal difference ahead of Blackburn and Wigan. Last-place Wolverhampton Wanderers is a further six points back.
Bolton is one point ahead of QPR, with Aston Villa on 34 points.
The bottom five teams all lost this weekend, while Villa tied 1-1 at Liverpool. Wolves lost 2-1 at Stoke, Blackburn was beaten 3-0 by West Bromwich Albion, Bolton was defeated 3-0 by Fulham, and Wigan lost 2-1 against Chelsea.
In yesterday’s other games, Tottenham tied 0-0 against Sunderland, and Norwich drew 2-2 with Everton. Newcastle beat Swansea 2-0 on April 6.