Robin van Persie’s goal deep into stoppage-time snatched a 1-1 draw for Manchester United against Premier League leaders Chelsea at Old Trafford on Sunday.
Chelsea were on the brink of going six points clear at the top of the table when defender Branislav Ivanovic was sent-off late on for a second bookable offence.
From the ensuing Angel di Maria free-kick, Marouane Fellaini’s header was well-saved by impressive Chelsea goalkeeper Thibault Courtois but van Persie followed up to score.
It had seemed Didier Drogba, making his first start in the Premier League this season, had struck the decisive blow when, in the absence of injured forwards Diego Costa and Loic Remy, he powered in a 53rd minute header which went in off van Persie to give the veteran Ivory Coast forward his first English top-flight goal since March 2012.
This result left Chelsea four points clear of second-placed Southampton and ensured honours were even between Jose Mourinho and Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal, under whom the Blues boss worked when the Dutchman was in charge of Barcelona.
Earlier, Newcastle United climbed out of the bottom three with a 2-1 win away to Tottenham Hotspur while winless Burnley remained rooted in the relegation zone after a 3-1 loss at home to Everton.
Fresh from their first victory of the season, at home to Leicester last weekend, Newcastle came from behind at White Hart Lane to enjoy back-to-back victories for the first time in nearly eight months.
Emmanuel Adebayor’s 18th-minute header gave Tottenham the lead but just six seconds after the break, Newcastle were level when Sammy Ameobi, a halftime substitute, chased down a long ball from Jack Colback and beat Spurs’ goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
And their comeback was complete when Ayoze Perez, making his first Premier League start, expertly headed in a cross to the back post from Remy Cabella, another halftime substitution by Newcastle manager Alan Pardew, in the 58th minute.
‘GREAT LIFT’ FOR NEWCASTLE
“It was good to get on. I actually told Jack Colback to get the ball into the corner from the kick-off,” said Ameobi. “To get out of the relegation zone gives us a great lift.”
Victory saw Newcastle climb to 14th place and had the added bonus for their fans of dropping north-east rivals Sunderland into the bottom three.
Elsewhere, veteran Cameroon striker Samuel Eto’o scored twice for Everton in a comfortable win at Turf Moor.
Promoted Burnley fell behind in just the fourth minute after Eto’o headed in Leighton Baines’s cross.
But Burnley gave the home crowd something to shout about with a 20th-minute equaliser.
Everton striker Romelu Lukaku gave the ball away inside his own half to Burnley’s Lukas Jutkiewicz, who slid a pass through to Danny Ings.
The Burnley striker then maintained his composure to round Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard before slotting the ball into an unguarded net.
But Lukaku went from villain to hero by restoring the visitors’ lead in the 29th minute when, after his initial effort was blocked, he struck from close range.
Eto’o then made it 3-1 with a superb curling shot from the edge of the box four minutes from time and only the post then denied him a hat-trick.
Everton manager Roberto Martinez hailed Eto’o’s display by telling Sky Sports: “I think what he brings is a real know-how, a real experience.”
Eto’o added: “I am happy for my performance, for the two goals, but I am more happy for the team performance.”
Meanwhile Burnley manager Sean Dyche said they had to match the forward power of Everton if they were to avoid a quick return to the second-tier Championship.
“Samuel Eto’o is a player who has been doing it for many, many years; fantastic player and they bought Lukaku so they have that kind of edge and we’re still finding that,” said Dyche.