Manchester United’s Champions League chase stalled as substitute Michael Obafemi struck in stoppage time to earn dogged Southampton a deserved draw at Old Trafford.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport’s decision to lift Manchester City’s two-season European ban meant a fifth-placed Premier League finish would not be enough to seal a return to the continent’s top table.
United looked set to move up to third after Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial turned things around following Stuart Armstrong’s early opener, only for Obafemi to direct home at the death to seal a 2-2 draw.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side remain fifth after blowing the chance to move ahead of Chelsea and Leicester on Monday night, when the frustration was clear on the face of the Norwegian and his players.
Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men deserved a share of the spoils, though.
Their relentless pressure forced Paul Pogba into an early error that Armstrong capitalised on.
But United produced a response that the watching Sir Alex Ferguson would have been proud of, with Rashford equalising in the 20th minute and Martial turning things around with a superb strike three minutes later.
Southampton midfielder Oriol Romeu was fortunate to avoid punishment for a foul on Mason Greenwood in a first half that made way for cagey second period, with David De Gea producing a superb stop to deny Nathan Redmond late on.
United looked set to hold on, only for Obafemi to get to a corner before Victor Lindelof to snatch a late point for Saints.
Obafemi may have been unable to celebrate in front of a packed crowd but that did not take away the youngster’s satisfaction at sealing a share of the spoils for Southampton.
“It’s amazing, I was supposed to play here for the under-18s in the Youth Cup, but sadly I missed it,” he told Sky Sports. “But I think this is an even better occasion to score in.
“It’s what I’m here to do is to score goals, thankfully I got the equaliser.
“We’ve picked up amazing results since the restart and we’ve looked to finish the season strong. We go to any game thinking we can get the three points.”
Man Utd 2-2 Southampton: Opta facts
- Michael Obafemi’s equaliser for Southampton was the latest Premier League goal Manchester United have conceded since we have exact goal times available (2006-07).
- Manchester United have lost and drawn a Premier League game at Old Trafford thanks to a goal scored in the 90th minute this season – in their 519 home games in the competition before this season, they’d only drawn one game thanks to a 90th minute strike from the opposition (L0).
- Manchester United are unbeaten in their last 18 games in all competitions (W13 D5), last having a longer run between April-November 2010 (29 games).
- Manchester United named the same starting XI for the fifth consecutive Premier League game, the first time they’ve done so in as many since a run of six in January/February 1993.
- Anthony Martial became the 10th player to score 50 Premier League goals for Manchester United – no team has had more different players reach the milestone in the competition (Liverpool also 10).
- Anthony Martial (2 assists) and Marcus Rashford (4) have combined for six Premier League goals this season – no Manchester United duo have ever combined for more in a single campaign.
- Since his Man Utd debut at the start of February, Bruno Fernandes has been involved in 14 Premier League goals (7 goals, 7 assists), more than any other player in the competition. The Portuguese has had a hand in eight of Man Utd’ last 12 league goals.
- Southampton’s Stuart Armstrong has been involved in five goals in his last six Premier League games (2 goals, 3 assists) – as many as he had been in his previous 40 in the competition.