Manchester United earned yet another draw, coming back from 2-0 down in the final 15 minutes to secure a 2-2 draw at Aston Villa, who were looking for their first home win over United in 15 years.
Villa rode a 72nd minute penalty from Ashley Young and a tap-in from Marc Albrighton in the 76th as they looked set to hand United their first loss of the year. But an 81st minute thunder bolt from Federico Macheda and a header at the back post from Nemanja Vidic saw United grab a point out of nothing, their sixth draw in seven away matches and seven in 13 matches overall.
United controlled the early exchanges as Nani was the first to threaten Villa’s goal. The Portuguese winger cut back onto his left foot but sent his effort from 20 yards over the bar.
Dimitar Berbatov had United’s best chance in the 16th minute. Michael Carrick intercepted an errant pass on the halfway line and played Javier Hernandez into space. The Mexican international looked like he was going to give it away near the top of the box, but he poked the ball through to Berbatov, who had stayed onside. The big Bulgarian then managed to rip his left-footed effort wide of the target, not threatening the Villa goal.
Another chance went begging for United, this time from Wes Brown. From a corner, Brown was unmarked at the near post. The defender flicked his effort toward goal, but it went wide.
The Villans got back into the match through Young and Stewart Downing, with Young forcing a good save out of Edwin van der Sar and Downing having a right-footed effort blocked by Rio Ferdinand, going wide of the target.
Villa were the brighter team to start the second half. Albrighton had an effort deflected into the side netting by Patrice Evra, and he should have scored in the 52nd minute only to have his header back across the face of goal go narrowly wide.
The post saved United twice in the span of two minutes as first James Collins and then Gabriel Agbonlahor smashed shots off the woodwork.
United were flittering with disaster, and it appeared that’s what would happen as Brown brought Young down in the box for a Villa penalty. Young lashed his kick past van der Sar, and it appeared United were on their way to a first defeat. Albrighton seemed certain to have doomed United to defeat, tapping in from a Downing cross in the 76th.
With just 9 minutes remaining, Macheda came to the rescue. He sent a 20-yard effort into the back of the Villa net after Darren Fletcher had back-heeled into his path. With the fuse lit, United went in search of the equalizer for a point, and they found it through Vidic. Nani sent in a deep cross, and the center back headed in at the far post to hand United a fortunate point.