MANCHESTER-Wayne Rooney and Paul Scholes extended Manchester United’s lead at the top but the champions benefited from another refereeing howler.
Ashley Young was a yard offside when he went down under minimal contact from Shaun Derry after just 15 minutes.
Referee Lee Mason pointed to the spot and sent Derry off, while Rooney stroked the penalty home.
Ten-man Rangers were under the cosh but held out until man-of-the-match Scholes drilled in United’s second from 25 yards.
And that was enough to send the hosts further clear at the top of the Premier League while QPR stay level on points with Blackburn and Wigan in the battle to beat the drop.
United dominated possession from kick-off with QPR struggling to get away from the edge of their own box.
A goal-bound Rooney curler was blocked by Anton Ferdinand and then the England striker tested Paddy Kenny with a well-struck free-kick.
It took just a quarter of an hour for the hosts to get off the mark but they needed a substantial piece of good luck.
Just a day after Chelsea benefitted from a linesman keeping his flag down against Wigan, the same happened at Old Trafford as Young was clearly offside when Rooney fed a pass into the box.
Young went down after the faintest of shirt tugs from Derry and ref Mason pointed to the spot and sent the QPR skipper off.
Rooney did not waste the opportunity, driving home his 29th goal of the season but the Hoops had good reason to feel aggrieved.
Adel Taarabt tried to get things started for the 10-man visitors with a long-range effort which deflected off Michael Carrick and was tipped over by David de Gea.
But it was all United and Young rose unchallenged to meet a right-wing Rooney cross but could only glance it wide.
Scholes then picked out Patrice Evra inside the penalty area but the Frenchman screwed his shot well wide.
Kenny had to stretch to ensure Rooney’s chip did not find the net as the champions pressed in search of a second.
Danny Welbeck then headed over a Antonio Valencia cross while Rooney just failed to reach a Young cross before Kenny collected.
Welbeck thought he had added a second goal when he tapped home Valencia’s cross a minute after the break but this time the offside flag was rightly raised.
Welbeck then strode onto Young’s astute pass, only to blaze over from an acute angle.
Rooney had a shot saved by Kenny at the other end before Samba Diakite tried his luck for QPR with no reward.
Scholes picked out Rafael with a brilliant pass but the young South American drove his shot against Kenny, the ball then flying up against the crossbar.
Rooney put Welbeck through but yet again Kenny made the save, and also kept out the rebound as it was stabbed back towards goal.
United’s second goal finally did come however as the ball fell to Scholes from a corner and the veteran steadied himself before hammering a low shot from outside the edge of the box past Kenny.
The outstanding Scholes was soon replaced by Tom Cleverley to a standing ovation while Carrick hit a 30-yard screamer onto the inside of the post as the scoreline stayed at two. -The Sun