Manchester United frustrated by Everton in Old Trafford draw
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Manchester – Manchester United were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Everton on Saturday after Andros Townsend's equaliser cancelled out Anthony Martial's opener for the home side.
It was another disappointing result for United, following their home defeat to Aston Villa last week, but continued the impressive start that Everton have made under Rafael Benitez.
Both teams are on 14 points, together with leaders Liverpool who face Manchester City at Anfield on Sunday.
United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer responded to the challenge of the quick turn-around from Wednesday's Champions League win over Villarreal by starting Cristiano Ronaldo, Paul Pogba and Jadon Sancho on the bench – although all three were brought on in the second half.
United started off on the front foot with Martial heading wide at the back post and Edinson Cavani forcing Jordan Pickford into a diving save with a firm header from a nicely floated Fred cross.
Everton though were well organised and set up to hit on the break, and the lively Demarai Gray brought David De Gea into action with a good effort after bursting in from the left in the 34th minute.
But it was a deserved lead that United took, two minutes before the interval when Mason Greenwood, showing some excellent touches on the flank, found Bruno Fernandes who expertly fed Martial, the Frenchman's slightly deflected shot flashing past Pickford.
Solskjaer made a double substitution in the 57th minute, bring on Ronaldo and Sancho for Martial and Cavani, but the switch did not have the desired effect of finishing the game off.
Instead, Everton hit United on the counter-attack – breaking from a United corner with Gray outmuscling Fred on the left before finding the excellent Abdoulaye Doucoure who in turn slipped it outside to the sprinting Townsend, who fired low past the stationary De Gea.
The visitors looked to have grabbed a late winner when Tom Davies' low ball was turned in by Yerry Mina, but United were handed a reprieve by a VAR review that right judged the Colombian to be offside.
There was a late chance for United's Jadon Sancho, played in by a back-heel from substitute Ronaldo, but his soft shot was easily dealt with by Pickford.
One point out of six from their last two home matches is a poor return for a team hoping to be among the title challengers. But for Everton, the result was an indicator that perhaps this season they may be able to sustain a push for a European place.