LONDON, April 5: Zlatan Ibrahimovic converted a penalty in the fourth minute of stoppage time as Manchester United salvaged a 1-1 draw against Everton to extend its unbeaten run in the Premier League to 20 matches on Tuesday.
In a dramatic finish, Everton defender Ashley Williams blocked a shot by United substitute Luke Shaw with his hand — earning him a straight red card — and Ibrahimovic slotted home the resulting spot kick on his return from a three-match domestic ban.
Phil Jagielka put Everton ahead, hooking in a close-range shot at a corner in the 22nd minute, and the visitors came agonizingly close to only a second win at United in their last 24 trips to Old Trafford.
Despite the point earned, it was another blow to United’s ambitions of qualifying for the Champions League through a top-four finish in the league. Jose Mourinho’s side is four points behind fourth-place Manchester City with nine games left and has a busy schedule, especially in April, as it is involved in the Europa League.
United struck the crossbar twice, through Ander Herrera and substitute Paul Pogba, in another frustrating home game. This was the team’s fifth draw in its last six league games at Old Trafford.
“The performance was not very good,” Mourinho said. “The spirit in the second half was phenomenal, but with some players really in trouble — some by the physical point of view, some others clearly with the confidence levels low.
“It was deja vu in many things, but I have to admit we played better football than in some other matches.”
Shaw was surprisingly named on the bench, with Mourinho having recently questioned the left back’s commitment and focus.
Perhaps even more surprisingly, Shaw was brought on in the 65th minute — ahead of forward Anthony Martial — as United sought an equalizer. He played a role in the equalizer but Mourinho renewed his public criticism of the defender, saying he was “thinking for him” and “making every decision for him.”
“At this level, we need the fantastic body he has to play football — fantastic physical qualities he has, the very good technical ability he has — but he cannot play with my understanding of the game,” Mourinho said.
“He must understand the game, he must think. He must accelerate the process because 21 years old, he is old enough to have a better understanding of the game.”
Ibrahimovic also had a headed goal disallowed for offside in the second half.
Everton manager Ronald Koeman was looking to become first manager to pick up wins in his first three trips to Old Trafford in the Premier League. He won there twice in a row with former club Southampton.
“Our defending was terrific,” Koeman said. “It was really painful how we don’t win the game. Yes, it was a penalty, but one minute before the end of the game it is always really painful.”
Seventh-place Everton would have gone above United on goal difference in the standings if the team had held on for the win. AGENCIES