|Queens Park Rangers|
wrong side of Julio Cesar’s right-hand post.
As the rain cascaded down at Old Trafford, QPR showed minimal attacking ambition but defended in numbers and with plenty of organisation and aggression. Clint Hill did well to beat Rooney to a cross from Patrice Evra following nice interplay with Welbeck and the best attempt of the opening half hour saw Young lash wide after Scholes hooked on rather than opting to volley a looped tee-up by Rooney.
United’s patient, probing approach drew some criticism from the home fans but Evra burst into the area with promise after combining well with van Persie, only to shoot tamely at Cesar.
Sir Alex instructed Young and Welbeck to switch flanks and it almost reaped instant dividend when the latter created a chance for Rooney but the striker’s scuffed effort was blocked by the increasingly busy Cesar. The Brazilian keeper was again called into action when Rooney unleashed a firmer drive but there was relief at the other end when an assistant referee flagged for offside before Mackie dived to head past Anders Lindegaard.
Controversy reigned before the interval when Hill shoved Young in the box and furiously accused the England international of diving. Referee Lee Probert took no action against either player even though they squared up, and Derry also became involved in the fracas, presumably still smarting from the incident that led to his dismissal in this fixture last term.
Sir Alex's side lacked the imagination to break down the massed ranks in the opening half and Adel Taarabt showed enough flair for the visitors to hint that a shock goal could not be ruled out, despite a game-plan clearly designed to hold out for a point.