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Everton 1-1 Manchester United: Frantic encounter ends all-square

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A breathless game at Goodison Park ended all-square.

Everton FC v Manchester United - Premier League Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Manchester United played out a dramatic 1-1 draw away at Everton in the Premier League on Sunday. The Toffees took the lead early in the match courtesy of a calamitous mistake from David de Gea, only for Bruno Fernandes to spare his blushes with a fine equaliser later in the half. Both sides had chances to win the game at the death, but courtesy of some fine goalkeeping and a VAR intervention, were made to settle for a point.

Only three minutes had elapsed by the time Everton were gifted the opening goal, courtesy of one of the most embarrassing moments of de Gea’s career. Having dawdled too long on the ball, the Spanish keeper could only welly it against the onrushing Dominic Calvert-Lewin, with the ball deflecting back past him and into the net.

Fortunately de Gea didn’t dwell on his mistake, as he was called into action again just a couple of minutes later. Calvert-Lewin was again the troublemaker, dashing in behind Victor Lindelöf before being denied by the sprawling United keeper.

The match was frantic, and United twice almost struck back through Nemanja Matić. On both occasions he gave the Toffees a scare from outside the area, with his first, rising effort cracking back off the crossbar after he was teed up from the byline by Fred. United had started to dominate possession, but still the pace of Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison, and the directness of Everton’s passing, ensured the hosts were always a threat.

United’s equaliser came just past the half-hour. Despite their possession, it was a goal from nothing, Bruno Fernandes driving a low, lethal shot inside the near post from way outside the penalty area. It was a mark of the midfielder’s quality, but also one that Jordan Pickford maybe should have kept out.

As the first half ticked on, the game became increasingly fractious. Constant fouls ensured relatively few goalscoring chances, at least until stoppage time, when an inch-perfect Leighton Baines cross was flicked wide by a diving Richarlison.

Soon after the restart, United were again the benefactors of a thick slice of good fortune, narrowly escaping as de Gea watched Gylfi Sigurðsson crack a curling free-kick against his post. Having played reactively for much of the first half, Everton took the ascendancy in the second, with United reduced to few chances.

Soon Ole Gunnar Solskjær rolled the dice, introducing Odion Ighalo and Juan Mata in place of Mason Greenwood and Scott McTominay—an undeniably aggressive substitution. However, United troubled Pickford little in the final few minutes, with a succession of Everton set-pieces the greatest goalscoring threat.

Nevertheless, both players were involved in a dramatic sequence in the final minute of normal time, when United passed up an extraordinary chance to win the game. A delicate touch from Mata sent Fernandes through, though his effort was parried into the path of Ighalo. He should’ve buried the ball from point-blank range, but Pickford did well to close the angle and make a match-saving reflex save.

The drama didn’t end there. On the ensuing counter-attack, Everton thought they’d won the game: de Gea denied Sigurðsson, only for Calvert-Lewin to turn a low ball back into the box which bounced off the heel of Harry Maguire, trickled past a prone Sigurðsson, and rolled inside de Gea’s near post. The Toffees wheeled away in celebration and Goodison Park erupted, only for a VAR review to adjudge Sigurðsson to have been sufficiently distracting to de Gea to warrant an offside call, and the goal was chalked off seconds before the final whistle.