Zlatan Ibrahimovic rescued an injury-time draw for Manchester United against Everton as Jose Mourinho’s side once again failed to win in the league at Old Trafford.
The Swede’s 94th-minute penalty was awarded after Luke Shaw’s goal-bound shot was handled on the line by visiting defender Ashley Williams, who was given a red card.
The point means United extend their unbeaten run to 20 games, but have now drawn nine times at home in the league and 12 overall, while opponents Everton missed the chance to leapfrog them in the table.
Everton’s opener came through Phil Jagielka’s clever, flicked finish from close range when he had his back to goal.
In response to going behind, Ander Herrera struck the crossbar after Joel Robles parried Daley Blind’s free-kick and the United midfielder also forced Toffees goalkeeper Robles into a full-stretch save.
Paul Pogba came on for the second half and headed against the bar from Ashley Young’s free-kick, while Ibrahimovic had a goal disallowed for offside in a disjointed United performance.
Relive the draw from Old Trafford
United were staring at defeat for the first time since their 4-0 drubbing against Chelsea in October before Ibrahimovic’s coolly taken penalty which sent Robles the wrong way.
The striker said before kick-off that he and the club are “still in talks” about signing a new deal for next season and they are indebted to the Swede for his 27 goals this term, many of which have been on important occasions.
It was a huge let-off for the hosts, who had 61.5% possession and 18 shots, but only three on target, showing their obvious weakness in front of goal.
Much of United’s play was in front of the Everton backline – often sideways and ponderous – without displaying any real strategy to breakdown the opposition.
Previous boss Louis van Gaal’s slow style of play was criticised by the supporters, but United’s last two performances have been a throwback to those days.
In fact, after 29 games in his first season, Van Gaal claimed 56 points and were fourth in the league, while Mourinho has two fewer points and are a place further back.
Substitution confusion and mistrust
In an attempt to get back into the contest, world record signing Pogba replaced left-back Daley Blind at half time.
A reshuffle to the side meant Herrera dropped to Blind’s previous position, allowing Pogba to take up his role in the middle of the park.
But less than five minutes later, Herrera swapped positions with Young to go to the right-back spot.
All this took place with full-backs Matteo Darmian and Luke Shaw – whose commitment has been questioned by the manager – sitting on the bench.
Shaw did come on just after the hour mark but only after an injury to Young, while Henrikh Mkhitaryan – dropped as Mourinho was “not happy” with his performance in the previous match against West Brom – replaced Michael Carrick.
The confusion from his players and the muddled changes from boss Mourinho showed the apparent mistrust he holds towards his squad as they struggle to find cohesion and incisiveness.
A busy April for United has started with two draws, with five further league and two Europa League games to play.
Analysis – Fellaini like a six-year-old
Former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson on BBC Radio 5 live:
From Manchester United, it was a dog’s dinner of a performance. They had no idea who was playing where and they played that way. They have gone away with one point but should have had none.
United were absolutely all over the place. I cannot see what they were trying to achieve here. They had no shape about them at all.
Where was Marouane Fellaini even playing? One second he is trying to go forward and the next he is running back – at times he is just chasing the ball like a six-year-old in the playground.
The Everton boss was one minute away from doing so.
The Dutchman would have set a record which even Sir Alex Ferguson, Louis van Gaal and Mourinho failed to do in their opening three home games as United manager.
Koeman’s side took the lead as centre-back Jagielka nipped in ahead of the hesitant Marcos Rojo and from there on, the Blues defended deep and resolutely but ultimately came away with just a point.
Everton’s robustness was typified by the assured 20-year-old Mason Holgate, who made four interceptions and regained possession nine times, which was more than any other team-mate.
The impressive Ashley Williams patrolled the defence and completed 11 clearances for his team, but it was his late error which led to the equaliser.
A flash point in the second half saw Kevin Mirallas petulantly refuse a handshake from his manager when substituted on 67 minutes.
Commenting on the incident, Koeman said: “I can understand players are a bit disappointed if you sub them but the way he reacted was not a team in my opinion and I will speak with him about that.”
Man of the match – Phil Jagielka (Everton)