Manchester United drew their third straight Premier League fixture on Sunday, with Everton netting a late penalty in a 1-1 draw at Goodison Park. It was a fairly even game, though the home supporters will have left the happier after Leighton Baines cancelled out Zlatan Ibrahimović’s opener only in the dying minutes.
Everton made the more enterprising start of the two sides, and would’ve been ahead within three minutes, had Michael Carrick not intervened to thwart Romelu Lukaku at the far post. A few minutes later Marcos Rojo threw himself rashly at Idrissa Gueye, and was lucky to escape with just a booking.
As the half wore on, United began to see more of the possession. Paul Pogba was unsurprisingly the biggest attacking threat, and only a fine Ramiro Funes Mori challenge prevented Henrikh Mkhitaryan from being sent clean through on goal by the Frenchman with just over five minutes of the half remaining.
Just when it looked like the opening period would end in deadlock, United produced a goal. It was a rare combination of sublime skill and catastrophic error, as Everton keeper Maarten Stekelenburg inexplicably surged off his line in pursuit of a ball bouncing quickly towards Zlatan Ibrahimović. With one perfect touch, the Swede lobbed the ball from distance over the Dutchman’s head, with it bouncing off the crossbar and the post before curling over the line for 1-0.
On balance, it was probably a deserved lead for United, who had weathered Everton’s opening skirmish to take control. But another was to follow. The hosts were back in the ascendancy early in the second period, and should've drawn level within a few minutes. A one-two between Kevin Mirallas and Lukaku culminated in the former lashing towards goal from point-blank range, though David de Gea was on hand to make a great near-post save.
The game was beginning to open out, and just short of the hour United went close to adding a second. A loose ball popped out to Ander Herrera inside the box, though the Spaniard's volley rocketed back off the angle of post and bar. It was anyone’s guess which way things would turn next.
Inside the final 10 minutes a cross by Everton youngster Mason Holgate was met in the middle by Enner Valencia, though the Ecuadorian striker’s header was caught by de Gea. It looked increasingly like United would be able to hang on for all three points, though unfortunately, ex-Evertonian Marouane Fellaini had other ideas.
Just minutes after being brought on to replace Mkhitaryan, the Belgian clumsily felled the lively Idrissa Gueye in the box. Fellaini could have no complaints when referee Michael Oliver pointed to the spot, nor when Leighton Baines converted the subsequent spot-kick with just a couple of minutes of normal time remaining.
That, sadly, was how the game ended, with United held to their third consecutive 1-1 Premier League draw. They remain nine points adrift of the top four, with Mourinho’s men having squandered a great chance to close in on the Champions League places.