Man Utd 1 QPR 0
PUBLISHED: 15:07 12 November 2008 | UPDATED: 13:24 24 August 2010
GARETH Ainsworth had urged his men to play the game, not the occasion – but in the end it was all about the occasion. Rangers turned in a gutsy display to thwart Manchester United – who included the likes of Carlos Tevez, Nani and Ji-Sung Park – for the
GARETH Ainsworth had urged his men to 'play the game, not the occasion' - but in the end it was all about the occasion.
Rangers turned in a gutsy display to thwart Manchester United - who included the likes of Carlos Tevez, Nani and Ji-Sung Park - for the vast majority of Tuesday's Carling Cup fourth round tie.
But it would be stretching the truth to suggest that United ever had cause to be fearful of a third successive exit from the competition to a Championship side. As tends to be the case away from home, QPR never looked like scoring.
It was more a night for the Rangers fans than the team and more than 7,000 sung themselves hoarse and revelled in their return to the 'Theatre of Dreams' for the first time in 13 years.
QPR survived a string of early corners and it took the European champions 15 minutes to muster a shot at goal, Tevez testing Radek Cerny with a skidding drive from the left that the keeper dived to smother.
As United's senior forward, the little Argentinian always looked the greatest threat and Fitz Hall rescued his side by recovering to foil Tevez after the striker had initially given him the slip.
John O'Shea almost set up the opener for United just before half-time, turning neatly onto Nani's corner and finding Tevez, but his subtle finish drifted just wide of the post.
It was similar fare in the second half as Nani's effort flew wide and Park's tame dink was easily fielded by Cerny - then Anderson's horribly miscued free-kick failed to even reach the corner flag.
It looked as if Rafael had silenced the grumbles emanating from the Old Trafford crowd when he forged room on the edge of the area and beat Cerny, but the shot clattered off the post and away to safety.
Tevez raced clear inside the box again and forced a flying stop from Cerny, while Anderson's daisy-cutter was also parried by the QPR keeper and Peter Ramage scrambled the loose ball clear.
Rangers finally carved out a chance of sorts with 17 minutes remaining as Emmanuel Ledesma wriggled around O'Shea and crossed, but Dexter Blackstock was unable to get any purchase on the header.
It didn't matter, though, because three minutes later Ramage felled substitute Danny Welbeck in the box and Tevez stepped up to beat Cerny from the spot.
Rangers threw on Samuel Di Carmine in a bid to rescue the tie and the Italian youngster duly headed in Gavin Mahon's deflected cross, only for the linesman's flag to snuff out the celebrations.
Cerny denied both Park and Anderson from close range, but Rangers could still have salvaged parity in injury time when the ball fell to Ledesma on the edge of the box and his finish went wide of the diving Kuszczak, but also the post.
That turned out to be Rangers's last chance as the final whistle sounded to put an end to their dreams of reaching the last eight, although United boss Sir Alex Ferguson praised their rearguard spirit afterwards and noted that "QPR defended well but we expected that - they have not been losing a lot of goals lately."
'We support our local team' sang the defiant Rangers fans. In that sense, at least, it was almost like old times.
Manchester Utd: Kuszczak; Rafael, Neville (Vidic 89), Evans, O'Shea; Park, Gibson, Possebon (Wellbeck 72), Anderson; Park, Tevez, Nani.
QPR: CERNYP; Ramage, Hall, Stewart, Connolly; Buzsaky (Agyemang 33), Rowlands, Mahon, Cook (Di Carmine 78); Parejo (Ledesma 45); Blackstock.
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