Everton 3 United 3
United let a two goal lead slip, in stoppage time, in a thrilling six goal encounter at Goodison Park.
There was, as we suggested in our match preview, no Wayne Rooney in the squad with his absence being described by Sir Alex as,
'We made the decision simply because Wayne gets terrible abuse here and we're not going to subject him to it. We have got a fantastic squad so we are using it. Wayne will play against Rangers in the Champions League on Tuesday.'
Everton go the action underway and caught United cold early on. Pushing forward Pienaar saw a shot deflected off of Vidic for a corner which Van der Sar claimed before Pienaar then flicked a loose, breaking ball wide of the post.
United were having trouble dealing with Pienaar and when Neville fouled the player, some twenty-five yards out, it was Arteta that forced a great save out of Van der Sar, who tipped the shot over the bar, although for some strange reason no corner was give.
Everton were still coming forward and Arteta and Pienaar both saw shots blocked before United finally got a foothold in the game. Just before the quarter of an hour mark a Nani ball in saw a Berbatov header fail to find an onrushing man before O`Shea hit the framework of the goal from some twenty-five yards out with a great volley.
Now, midway through the half, the action was settling down and on another foray forward Baines hit a low shot wide, United responded just past the half hour mark by winning their first corner of the game, the corner broke to the edge of the box where Hibbert fouled Giggs.
From the resulting free kick Nani played the ball square to Scholes who saw his low twenty-two yard shot deflected only for Howard to stick a leg out and produce a great save with his foot. Howard then denied Giggs as United slowly got on top
With thirty nine minutes gone Everton took the lead, a long ball out of defence caught United and Arteta race don looking like he was going to score in a one-on-one situation, however Van der Sar made a good save but when the ball broke to Osman he fed Pienaar who slotted home.
Everton`s lead was to last a mere four minutes with United equalizing in spectacular style courtesy of a move involving Giggs and Nani which saw a great cross delivered for Fletcher to turn in from six yards out. In added time a Giggs ball was volleyed just wide by Berbatov as United looked to get in front.
Half time - Everton 1 Manchester United 1
United got the second half underway and were soon to take the lead for the first time in the match. Berbatov had seen a shot deflected for a corner and when the ball was worked back out to Nani there was Vidic rising high to head home. Immediately after Vidic conceded a corner under pressure from Cahill but it came to nothing.
A Distin error then allowed United to break through Giggs, his ball in saw Howard save well from Nani, but a third United goal wasn`t long in coming. A great cross field ball from Scholes was expertly controlled by Berbatov who cut in and drilled a low shot past Howard.
Sixty-six minutes gone and the game was surely ours. Everton responded with a Baines free kick after Evra had been penalized for a foul on the young Everton substitute, Coleman, a Coleman cross then saw Cahill head wide before Scholes lifted a shot over the bar after a good cross from Nani.
Van der Sar then produced a decent save to deny Osman after good work from Yakubu had carved out a chance and with time running out Berbatov slid a shot past the far post when Nani was better placed.
But with three minutes of stoppage time to play, United lost two points in dramatic style. First Cahill headed home a Baines cross and then with the United defence back-pedaling, Cahill headed down for Arteta to fire home through a crowded box.
An unbelievable finish and the honours were shared.
Vital Man United on:
Vital Man United on: