Manchester United were dramatically held 3-3 by Everton in another high-scoring Old Trafford affair but this time it was a nail-biting draw as the visitors snatched an injury-time equaliser.
The 9-0 demolition of Southampton in midweek was a one-way hammering but this was a see-saw spectacle.
United were 2-0 up and comfortable at half-time thanks to a header by Edinson Cavani and a beautiful strike from Bruno Fernandes.
But Everton hit back with two early second-half strikes from Abdoulaye Doucore and James Rodriguez.
Scott McTominay looked to have secured the three points with 20 minutes to go but with seconds left, Dominic Calvert-Lewin stabbed home a leveller to ruin the evening for the Reds.
FIRST HALF – EDINSON AND BRUNO ON THE MARK
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made just the one change from the starting XI that demolished Southampton 9-0 on Tuesday night with refreshed Paul Pogba coming in for Fred.
Before the match, United captain Harry Maguire and Everton skipper Lucas Digne laid wreaths in the center circle to remember the 23 victims of the 1958 Munich air crash, including eight Busby Babes and members of the Old Trafford staff. There was also a minute’s silence.
Solskjaer wanted a performance to do justice to the Babes and with all eyes on whether the Reds could back up the massive Saints win, it was always going to be a challenging evening.
Everton started confidently to ensure United wouldn’t get out of the traps quickly but Ole’s players kept their cool and went a goal up after 24 minutes.
Cavani, who had to come off at half-time in midweek with an ankle injury after opening his goal account at Old Trafford, showed there were no after-effects from the knock as he showed his class to make it 1-0.
Marcus Rashford provided the assist with a delightfully flighted cross that floated just over the head of our former FA Youth Cup-winning defender Michael Keane in Everton’s back four, and the predatory Uruguayan nipped in at the far post to head home.
United had successfully dulled Everton’s confident start and took command of the game. Unfortunately, Pogba’s return after his midweek breather lasts only 39 minutes when he pulled up clutching the front of his right thigh after he’d made a pass. The Frenchman couldn’t continue and was replaced immediately by Fred.
Just before the break, Victor Lindelof got himself in trouble attempting to clear when he was surrounded by Everton players and the ball rebounded off Digne to Richarlison who attempted to catch David De Gea out with a quick-thinking curled shot which just went wide. In response, substitute Fred’s impact was almost immediate but he dragged his shot past the post.
However, United ended the half on a real high with a Fernandes stunner to make it 2-0.
The visitors appeared unaware of the danger as the Portuguese midfielder looked up for a cross on the edge of the box but instead fooled everyone as he curled in a show-stopping finish over the head of goalkeeper Robin Olsen.
The Reds almost extended their lead two minutes after the break when a brilliant link-up between Cavani and Luke Shaw ended with the left-back thumping a shot which Olsen did brilliantly to keep out. But in the blink of an eye, the contest turned around.
The response was a brutal one from the visitors as they drew level with a two-goal blitz in three minutes.
Olsen’s save spurred Everton forward and two minutes later the Toffees grabbed a goal back on a counter-attack. A swift move saw Tom Davies slide a ball through to Dominic Calvert-Lewin whose cross was palmed out to Doucore in the six-yard area and the Frenchman stabbed home.
Rejuvenated Everton made it 2-2 in the 52nd minute as scorer Doucore turned creator, enabling James Rodriguez to control and drill in the equalizer.
United were bruised but not beaten and, after shrugging off the shock of conceding twice, looked certain to regain the lead in the 62nd minute when Cavani slipped Rashford in. Our striker bore down on goal but was thwarted by a stop at his near post by Olsen.
The Reds went ahead again after 70 minutes. Shaw, having earlier been denied a goal by Olsen, got an assist instead as he delivered a great free-kick for McTominay to get in front of a clutch of Everton defenders to rise and glance in our third goal.
The match had developed into an edge-of-your-seat, end-to-end game and following a period of Everton danger, Fernandes went close to completing a brace as he curled an effort just over the bar into the Stretford End in the 76th minute and Rashford, too, was not far off from enhancing the advantage.
Fernandes had the chance to repeat his FA Cup-winning free-kick against Liverpool after 80 minutes but the dead-ball specialist couldn’t quite keep his shot down and on target this time.
This near-miss meant the Reds were in for a gripping finale and United were seconds from victory when Calvert-Lewin pounced on a free-kick delivery to prod past De Gea and wipe two points off United’s Premier League tally.
Match Report by Man Utd.com
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