- English Barclays Premier League
- 22 April 2012, 11:30am
- Old Trafford
- Attendance: 75,522
FULL-TIME:I don't know how to summarise that second half. Twice, Everton looked down and out after trailing 3-1 and 4-2, but two late goals from Jelavic and Pienaar has snatched an unlikely draw for the dogged Toffees. United drop two crucial points in the title race which means the gap will be cut to only three points if Man City win at Wolves, which kicks off later this afternoon. Next week's derby at the Etihad Stadium could well decide which half of Manchester the title is heading. I'm exhausted! Thanks for following our coverage.
90+5 mins:Free-kick to United down their left. Nani's set-piece is cleared but launched back into the box. It falls to Ferdinand on the edge of the area and his blistering drive is brilliantly tipped over by Howard!
90+2 mins:Rafael pings in a cross from the right which is met by an unchallenged Evans, but his header sails high and wide. Everton are being pegged back.
90 mins:FIVE minutes added on. Moyes can't believe it. We're into Fergie time.
89 mins:Jelavic has a go from 35 yards but balloons his attempt. Everton fancy nicking this! Hernandez replaces Valencia as Fergie makes his final sub.
86 mins:Scholes is replaced by Jones with four minutes to go. Can Everton hold on? Can they pinch all three points?!
85 mins: IT'S 4-4! EVERTON HAVE EQUALISEDThis is just extraordinary. Fellaini swivels on the left of the United area and lays the ball into the path of PIENAAR who strokes it past De Gea! Incredible drama. It's 4-4 and still not over. United will be kicking themselves.
84 mins:Attacking change for Everton as Cahill replaces Distin.
83 mins: UNITED HAVEN'T WON THIS YET!It's still game on! United just can't shake off the Toffees. Neville floats a hopeful ball into the box. Both United centre-backs are drawn to Fellaini as all three go up for a header, but the ball falls loose to Jelavic who volleys in from the edge of the six-yard box.
80 mins:Almost number five for United! Valencia's cross just evades Nani inside the six-yard box and runs through to Evra, but his header from point-blank range cannons off the face of the post.
76 mins:Everton are enjoying a spell of possession inside United's half but the Toffees are running out of time. The Red Devils have really turned it on at times since the interval.
73 mins:Everton are not giving up hope. Pienaar finds Jelavic in space on the right of the United area, but the former Rangers man slices his shot into the side netting.
Beanie:"What a game this is turning out to be. Rooney is on fire atm!"
69 mins: ROONEY GETS HIS SECOND!Well Everton's fightback lasted all of two minutes. The front pair combine effectively to open up the Toffees defence. Welbeck leaves a pass for Rooney who plays a slick one-two with his strike partner before sweeping the ball past Howard from eight yards.
67 mins: EVERTON BACK IN IT!Out of nothing, the Toffees grab a lifeline. Hibbert whips in a cross from the right and it's volleyed home emphatically by FELLAINI. Another terrific finish. What a game!
64 mins:Osman has asked to be substituted. Apparently he's suffering vision problems after that earlier clash of heads with Evra. McFadden is on in his place.
62 mins:The Red Devils are running riot as Welbeck darts into the box but can only find the side netting with his shot.
60 mins: UNITED EDGE CLOSER TO THE TITLE!Two goals in the space of three minutes for United! Lovely build-up play as the home side unlock their opponents with some slick one-touch passing. Welbeck's clever pass behind the defence plays in NANI who beats Howard with a deft finish over the stranded keeper.
57 mins: WELBECK SCREAMER!Huge goal in the title race! Nani's header runs into the path of Welbeck on the edge of the Everton area. The striker sells Heitinga a dummy, opens up his body and curls a sumptuous shot into the top corner beyond Howard's reach.
54 mins:Howard races out to gather a through ball and is then bumped out of the area by Scholes with the ball still in his hands. Scholes has the cheek to appeal for a free-kick!
51 mins:Slow start to the second period. Osman and Evra clatter heads in front of the dugouts and both require treatment.
Ed, Harrow:"United struggling again against another poor side... please Fergie get rid of the players who are being carried."
47 mins:Evra is shown an early yellow card for a foul on his former team-mate Gibson.
46 mins:The Red Devils, probably fresh from a Fergie hairdryer, get us going again at Old Trafford.
HALF-TIME:Entertaining half at Old Trafford. United were second best for most of it and punished for their sloppiness by Jelavic who opened the scoring with a superb header. However, that seemed to spark the Red Devils into life and Rooney responded with a header of his own from Nani's teasing cross just before the break. City fans will be desperate for Everton to hold on for at least a draw. Join us for the second half soon.
45+3 mins:Everton have trouble clearing the free-kick and the ball pops up to Nani, but his close-range header whistles just wide.
45+2 mins:Distin is very harshly booked for an apparent push on Rafael down United's right wing. Fergie was up demanding a free-kick, but it looked a fair challenge to me.
45 mins:Osman glides forward from midfield and is invited to shoot, but his effort lacks power and rolls through to De Gea. Two minutes added on.
44 mins:Nani, who has been United's best player, unleashes another long-range shot which swerves wide of the target.
41 mins: ROONEY LEVELS AGAINST HIS OLD CLUB!Rooney to the rescue for the Red Devils! Nani swings in a peach of a cross from the left which Rooney meets to head in from six yards. Everton will be disappointed with their defending, but it was a fantastic ball in from Nani.
38 mins:Rafael is clipped right on the edge of the Everton area by Osman, but the referee gives nothing. There was definite contact. It's been all United since the goal.
35 mins:United almost hit straight back. Howard half-clears a corner which falls to Scholes on the edge of the box. His first-time shot deflects off Welbeck right in front of Howard, but the goalie manages to readjust his body in time to make the save.
33 mins: JELAVIC THROWS A SPANNER IN THE WORKS!What a superb header this is from the in-form Jelavic. Hibbert sends in a deep cross from the right. Jelavic rises above Rafael, but instead of nodding it back across the box, he somehow manages to divert it over De Gea into the far corner. It was such an awkward angle. That goal will be celebrated by City fans just as much as the travelling Toffees.
30 mins:Gibson manages to evade Scholes as he collects a central pass and the former United midfielder tries his luck from distance, slamming a vicious shot just wide of De Gea's goal.
Tom Hull:"I hope Everton win and do City a favour. I'm a Liverpool fan and don't want United to get another title."
27 mins:Now a corner to Everton which causes De Gea problems as he leaves his goal but gets nothing on the floater. It goes through to Pienaar who sets up Osman on the edge of the box, but his drilled shot is blocked superbly by Evans.
24 mins:The first corner of the game goes United's way, but Rooney's set-piece is claimed by an unchallenged Howard.
20 mins:Distin joins the Everton attack and gets on the end of Gibson's delivery, but his header drifts wide. Valencia did just enough to distract the defender.
18 mins:Very open start. This time it's bombarding right-back Rafael who breaks into the box and gets the better of Heitinga, but Pienaar tracks back well and Howard comes out to gather.
17 mins:Dangerous counter from Everton who surge forward in numbers. Jelavic has three blue shirts in the middle but his pull-back is flicked behind by Ferdinand. Crucial clearance.
16 mins:Cries of 'shooooot' from the Old Trafford faithful as Scholes lines one up from 25 yards, but he fires his daisycutter wide of the goal frame.
14 mins:After a sloppy first five minutes, United are now starting to take control. Evra lofts in a cross from the left which Rooney meets at the back stick, but he's under pressure from Jagielka and heads wide.
12 mins:Nani jinks past Osman from the left and creates space for another shot outside the area. His effort has plenty of vigor but it's straight at a grateful Howard.
Chunky, Glyncoch:"Think Utd gonna let 2 points slip by and only earn a 1-1 draw, Rooney and own goal. Title going down to the wire."
10 mins:Valencia swings in a cross from the right which goes all the way over to Nani on the other flank. The winger cuts inside and has a pop, bending his attempt a few feet wide of Howard's left-hand post. Better from the home side.
8 mins:United have yet to settle with Everton by far the brighter team which will encourage Mancini and co. Squeaky bum time for Fergie.
5 mins:Two chances for Everton! Osman slips in Jelavic who has a yard on Evans after a run across the defender. The Toffees No.7 hits it first time from the edge of the box, but his shot towards the near post is held by De Gea. Moments later, Osman is picked out by Pienaar on the corner of the area and he fires an effort across goal. Troubling start for United.
2 mins:Osman lashes in a shot from the edge of the area which takes a looping deflection off Ferdinand. The ball hangs in the air and Osman reacts quickest but sends his header wide.
Taz:"I think 1-0 to Utd. Hope there is no diving. Leave that to Drogba!"
0 mins:Everton, looking to bounce back from last week's FA Cup semi-final defeat to Merseyside rivals Liverpool, get us underway facing the Stretford End.
1226:The players are on their way out with the blue half of Manchester praying that Everton can do them a favour today. United will go eight points clear if they win ahead of City's visit to Wolves later this afternoon.
1210:Teamsheets are in at Old Trafford. Fergie makes one change with Nani preferred to Young, who has been under fire lately for his best Tom Daley impersonations. Hibbert replaces the injured Baines for the Toffees, while Jagielka and Pienaar come in for Cahill and Gueye.
- English Barclays Premier League
- 22 April 2012, 11:30am
- Old Trafford
- Attendance: 75,522
Everton recovered from 4-2 down after 83 minutes to hold Manchester United 4-4 at Old Trafford and deliver a fresh twist in the title race.
Instead of setting the scene for an ultimate revenge act at the Etihad Stadium on April 30, United will meet Manchester City knowing they cannot afford to lose if a calamity even greater than the one that unfolded here is not to take place.
Behind to Nikica Jelavic's header, United twice established winning positions as Danny Welbeck and Nani sandwiched a Wayne Rooney double.
But Everton refused to surrender to what seemed like the inevitable defeat.
Marouane Fellaini had already offered a warning before Rooney struck the 180th goal of his United career and 33rd of the season, just one short of his highest haul.
But when Jelavic grabbed another, the hosts allowed Steven Pienaar far too much space inside the United box a couple of minutes later and the midfielder duly buried the goal that could provide the turning point in a season filled with so many amazing results.
Though it had been almost 20 years since Everton's last success on this ground, this was always viewed as a key game
With 10 points from their last 12, the Toffeemen represented a formidable obstacle and the return of Pienaar merely offered more reason for optimism amongst the Manchester City faithful.
And the Merseysiders certainly did City proud, starting on the front foot, defending stoutly and thoroughly deserving their lead when it eventually came.
Jelavic had already sprung the United defence once, early on, when Pienaar sent him through, but David de Gea was equal to the shot.
Leon Osman had a couple of opportunities, Sylvain Distin guided a header wide and United old boy Darron Gibson chanced his arm with a trademark thunderbolt, which flashed wide.
However, United had no answer when Tony Hibbert crossed deep from the right touchline.
Jelavic won the aerial duel with Rafael at the far post, lifting his header over De Gea and just inside the goal.
It was the £5.5million man's seventh Everton goal and sixth in six games, emphasising his status as one of the bargain buys of the season.
A wave of anxiety swept around Old Trafford as United fans feared another sizeable chunk was in danger of being carved off what, just a fortnight ago, seemed an impregnable lead.
After a couple of decidedly dodgy penalty awards involving Ashley Young over the past fortnight, it was perhaps no surprise referee Mike Jones was unimpressed when Rafael went down under Osman's challenge, although it did appear to be a foul.
United needed to come up with something fast.
And, restored to the starting line-up after a nine-match absence in place of Young, whom Ferguson insisted had not been dropped for disciplinary reasons, Nani provided it.
The Portugal winger curled over a brilliant cross from the left which dropped just over Phil Neville and perfectly for Rooney to head in.
In a sense though, an equaliser was neither here nor there. The difference between a two or three point lead largely irrelevant considering City had a better goal difference.
United needed three points. And, in the space of two minutes just before the hour, it seemed they had been secured.
Everton complained that Osman was down and in pain when the hosts went in front.
However, they had many chances to nullify any potential danger before Nani showed admirable desire to out-jump Neville on the edge of the area and nod down for Welbeck.
After side-stepping John Heitinga's rash challenge, the youngster calmly curled a superb shot into the top corner.
Old Trafford had not stopped celebrating when Welbeck fed Nani, whose chip sailed over Howard and bounced into the empty net.
It should have been all over and still seemed that way despite Fellaini smashing home a brilliant volley and Rooney had soon struck again to restore their two-goal cushion.
In truth, the drama was only just starting.
With seven minutes left Jelavic capitalised on unusual hesitancy inside the United penalty area and drove a precise shot into the bottom corner.
Even then, what happened afterwards came with jaw-dropping surprise, Fellaini creating space for himself inside the penalty area before sliding a pass through to an unmarked Pienaar, who planted a first-time shot beyond De Gea.
The bedlam of earlier had been replaced by a different kind of mayhem as United tried to get a grip on the calamity that had just unfolded.
Phil Jones and Javier Hernandez were thrown on in a desperate attempt to salvage the situation.
But even in five heart-stopping minutes of injury time there was to be no final twist as Tim Howard tipped over Rio Ferdinand's goalbound effort.