Paul Pogba stepped off the bench to help derail Jose Mourinho and Tottenham’s hopes of catching Manchester United in the race for the Champions League places, winning a penalty for Bruno Fernandes to cancel out Steven Bergwijn’s opener.
A woeful David de Gea error from Bergwijn’s first-half strike (27) looked like it would end United’s unbeaten streak on their Premier League return, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side were hugely improved after the break with the introduction of fit-again Pogba, and Spurs could not withstand the onslaught as it ended 1-1.
After a series of United chances, the Frenchman skipped past Eric Dier and the Spurs defender clumsily brought down his opponent for Fernandes (81) to convert a deserved equaliser from the spot.
United were awarded a second spot-kick in the 90th minute by referee Jon Moss, but VAR spared Spurs after the collision between Dier and Fernandes was deemed to not be a foul.
A victory for Mourinho’s men – in his first match against his former side – would have closed the gap between Spurs and United to just one point, but the draw leaves the visitors two points ahead of Sheffield United in fifth and two points behind fourth-placed Chelsea.
Tottenham: Lloris (8), Aurier (7), Sanchez (6), Dier (6), Davies (6), Winks (6), Sissoko (6), Bergwijn (8), Lamela (7), Son (7), Kane (6).
Subs: Lo Celso (6), Fernandes (6)
Man Utd: De Gea (3), Wan-Bissaka (7), Lindelof (6), Maguire (4), Shaw (6), Fred (6), McTominay (6), Fernandes (8), James (6), Martial (6), Rashford (7).
Subs: Pogba (8), Greenwood (7), Ighalo, Bailly, Matic (n/a)
Man of the Match: Bruno Fernandes (Man Utd)
How Man Utd fought back to draw at Spurs
Players and officials applauded before kick-off to pay respect to victims of coronavirus and took a knee after the first whistle to pay tribute to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Once the action got underway, fit-again Marcus Rashford, who has made positive headlines during lockdown with his charity work, nearly made the breakthrough on 20 minutes after a slow start to the match, but his low volley was kicked away by Hugo Lloris.
At the other end, Lloris’ counterpart De Gea was not so sharp, and made a real mess of Bergwijn’s powerful shot after the Dutchman strode away from Harry Maguire to fire Spurs ahead.
De Gea was the centre of attention once again moments later but this time the United ‘keeper pulled off a smart stop to parry Heung-Min Son’s header over the bar.
After the break, United began to build momentum, with Rashford heading Dan James’ cross wide and Fernandes skidding a shot beyond the far post before the Portuguese linked up with substitute Pogba and fed Anthony Martial, whose effort was brilliantly blocked by Dier.
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1H. Lloris17M. Sissoko1D. deGea11E. Lamela10H. Kane24S. Aurier7H. Son15E. Dier5H. Maguire17Fred23L. Shaw33B. Davies18B. BorgesFernandes9A. Martial8H. Winks6D. Sánchez10M. Rashford2V. Lindelöf23S. Bergwijn39S. McTominay21D. James
Lloris produced a stunning stop to push away Martial’s strike on 66 minutes, but Pogba then turned on the style to make the difference. The Frenchman produced some neat skill to get beyond Dier and was then tumbled by his opponent in the box.
Fernandes made no mistake from the spot, sending Lloris the wrong way, to take his record for United to three goalsand three assists in six Premier League appearances – the best return of any player in the competition since he signed from Sporting Lisbon in January.
Tottenham pushed back in search of a winner but it was United who thought they had a chance to take all three points when referee Moss pointed to the penalty spot for a second time when Fernandes fell against Dier. Mourinho was incensed and rightly so, with VAR reversing the decision.
Mason Greenwood, who had helped turn the tide when he came on with Pogba in the second half, then rifled a shot just off target from 20 yards as United finished on top – extending their unbeaten run to 12 games in all competitions and dealing a blow to Tottenham’s ambitions during this run-in.