Anthony Martial put United ahead on 42 minutes before Andros Townsend levelled things up just after the hour mark. In a late twist, Yerry Mina‘s late effort was ruled out for offside as both sides had to settle for a point.
The result increases the pressure on United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who have picked up one point in six and have failed to keep a clean sheet in nine league games — their worst defensive run in 50 years.
“We could have dealt with the situation better,” Solskjaer said on Townsend’s equaliser.
“I thought we started well, high energy, created some good openings and scored a fantastic goal — second half we lacked that cutting edge to get the second, which is vital in a game like this.”
Solskjaer sprang a big surprise ahead of the match by dropping Cristiano Ronaldo and Paul Pogba to the bench, with Martial starting despite a meagre return of two goals in his past 24 appearances for the club ahead of the game. Rafael Benitez’s Everton, meanwhile, were without Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison through injury, while Alex Iwobi failed a late fitness test.
Ronaldo struck a 95th minute winner, his fifth goal in five matches since returning, against Villarreal in the Champions League in midweek. But he was a high-profile absentee to begin with, as Solskjaer rotated his squad after complaining about the fixture scheduling in the wake of the club’s exploits in Europe.
United suffered a 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa last time out in the league but they began brightly here, Martial heading wide and Mason Greenwood flashing across goal in the first 10 minutes. Michael Keane then had a decent chance for the visitors as he headed wide, before Edinson Cavani saw a powerful header saved by Jordan Pickford.
Demarai Gray was the latest to threaten in a lively first half for Everton before United grabbed the lead. Bruno Fernandes slipped the ball to Martial and he made no mistake, flashing a powerful drive into the net.
Martial was replaced by Jadon Sancho and Ronaldo came on for Cavani on 55 minutes but just under 10 minutes later, it was level. Fred was muscled off the ball in the Everton half and the visitors broke, with the ball finding its way to Townsend who smashed it low past David De Gea.
Solskjaer reacted by bringing on Pogba for Fred with 20 minutes to go and Ronaldo then fizzed an effort across goal, before Pogba whipped one over. Mina then slipped the ball home on 85 minutes, only for VAR to rule it out for offside.
United pushed for a winner but failed to find the breakthrough, and a disappointed Ronaldo walked straight down the tunnel at the final whistle as Solskjaer’s side slipped up again.
Benitez told the BBC: “We played against a very good team. It’s no easy to get a result here and we did well. We concede a late goal that maybe we were not expecting but the reaction of the team in the second half was quite good. It’s a pity the last one because it’s offside but it could be even better but we are pleased with the way we played and the result at the end.”
A disappointed Fernandes said: “We should win this game. We should create more chances. We should not concede that kind of goal. It’s not the first time and we have to look at our mistakes and see what we can do.
“We don’t look at the league table at this moment but of course we should have more points. We drop points at home and we should not do that. These last two games at home was not good enough in the Premier League. If we want silverware at the end of the season we have to do much better.”