Dominic Calvert-Lewin secured a dramatic point for Everton in the fifth minute of stoppage time as they twice came from behind to hold Manchester United in a six-goal thriller at Old Trafford.
On the 63rd anniversary of the Munich air disaster, Scott McTominay’s header seemed to have sealed a victory that would have taken United level on points with Manchester City at the top of the Premier League.
However, after they had already responded superbly to falling two behind before half-time on Saturday, Everton refused to buckle.
And, as United grew increasingly desperate, Calvert-Lewin took advantage of weak defending from a Lucas Digne free-kick to stab in from close range.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side only had themselves to blame for failing to secure maximum points. Excellent first-half efforts from Edinson Cavani and Bruno Fernandes should have been the prelude to a comfortable second period.
But goalkeeper David de Gea’s mistake gifted Abdoulaye Doucoure a goal four minutes after the restart and, on the visitors’ next attack, James Rodriguez rifled home the equaliser.
Fernandes’ brilliant effort in vain
Given the poignancy of the day, it was fitting one of the four academy graduates in the United line-up should play a significant role in the opener.
Marcus Rashford has represented the Old Trafford club in the best way possible off the field during lockdown but it should never be forgotten what an excellent player the 23-year-old forward is.
His cross, from the right side of the box to the far post, dropped perfectly over Michael Keane for Cavani, who had used all his game intelligence to give himself the space required to finish.
Fernandes’ superb second brought back memories of Eric Cantona’s audacious chip against Sunderland in 1996 – the Portugal midfielder taking his time, after Tom Davies had misread his intentions, before lifting the ball over Robin Olsen from the edge of the area, even though the Everton keeper was only a couple of yards off his line.
From his seat in the directors’ box, Sir Alex Ferguson must have been impressed. And the character United showed to respond to Everton’s fightback after the break would no doubt have pleased their former manager too, although questions will be asked of Olsen, who failed to keep out McTominay’s header from Luke Shaw’s deep free-kick.
Sadly for Ferguson, the ending was reminiscent of a 4-4 draw between these two teams at this ground in 2012.
As good as a win for Ancelotti
Although Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti did not become the second manager after Tottenham’s Jose Mourinho to win at Old Trafford with three different teams, after previous successes with AC Milan and Chelsea, the manner of the draw must feel like a victory for the Italian.
Calvert-Lewin had already given notice of the Toffees’ battling qualities when he failed to take a good chance at the end of the first half and the visitors showed no sign of inferiority when they came out with a clear sense of purpose after the break.
They would have known also that United have lost six times at home already this season, winning consecutive games only twice and – Wednesday’s 9-0 hammering of Southampton apart – are in an inconsistent run of form that has returned just nine points from their past six matches.
On his first appearance at Old Trafford, Rodriguez made life difficult for the hosts and the Colombian’s sweet strike for the equaliser gave De Gea no chance.
However, the Spain keeper had already given Everton a helping hand by pushing Calvert-Lewin’s weak cross straight to Doucoure when he appeared to have a number of alternative options.
Judging by this performance, Calvert-Lewin is certainly getting his early-season confidence back.
The England forward has now scored in consecutive Premier League games for the first time since the beginning of October, taking his tally to 13, the same as Fernandes and two behind Golden Boot leader Mohamed Salah.
More to follow.
- 1de Gea
- 23ShawBooked at 73mins
- 6PogbaSubstituted forFredat 39′minutes
- 11GreenwoodSubstituted forTuanzebeat 90+3′minutesBooked at 90mins
- 18Bruno Fernandes
- 34van de Beek
- 5KeaneBooked at 80mins
- 16DoucouréSubstituted forKingat 81′minutes
- 26DaviesSubstituted forIwobiat 75′minutes
- 19RodríguezSubstituted forG Sigurdssonat 69′minutes
- 21André Gomes
- 10G Sigurdsson
- 31Neves Virgínia
Match ends, Manchester United 3, Everton 3.
Second Half ends, Manchester United 3, Everton 3.
Goal! Manchester United 3, Everton 3. Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton) left footed shot from very close range to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Michael Keane with a headed pass following a set piece situation.
Axel Tuanzebe (Manchester United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Axel Tuanzebe (Manchester United).
Joshua King (Everton) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Edinson Cavani (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Ben Godfrey (Everton).
Substitution, Manchester United. Axel Tuanzebe replaces Mason Greenwood.
Offside, Everton. Lucas Digne tries a through ball, but Joshua King is caught offside.
Hand ball by Alex Iwobi (Everton).
Attempt missed. Richarlison (Everton) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
Lucas Digne (Everton) hits the left post with a left footed shot from the left side of the box. Assisted by André Gomes.
Fred (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Lucas Digne (Everton).
Foul by Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United).
Mason Holgate (Everton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Everton. Joshua King replaces Abdoulaye Doucouré.
Attempt missed. Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United) right footed shot from outside the box is too high from a direct free kick.
Michael Keane (Everton) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.