London, Jun 19 (efe-epa).- A goal from the penalty spot inside the final 10 minutes of regulation allowed Manchester United to draw 1-1 with Tottenham Hotspur here Friday as Match Day 30 of the pandemic-disrupted Premier League season got under way.
The outcome left United in fifth place with 46 points, 2 behind Chelsea, who have a game in hand, so the Red Devils can still aspire to a top-four finish and a place in the 2020-2021 Champions League.
Spurs, now eighth on 42 points, are not out of contention for European play, but they have a higher mountain to climb than some of their rivals.
Facing a United squad with plenty of firepower, Spurs coach Jose Mourinho was content to cede the ball to his former club, who enjoyed 63 percent possession.
And the first opportunity during the contest at a nearly empty Tottenham Stadium in London went to the visitors, a fierce blast from Marcus Rashford that tested goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
It seemed only a matter of time before United converted their dominance into a goal, yet Spurs took the lead in the 27th minute on an impressive individual effort by Steven Bergwijn.
Collecting a deep ball from Lloris, the Dutchman blew past United defender Harry Maguire and beat keeper David De Gea with a shot that the Spaniard would have been expected to stop.
De Gea partially redeemed himself a few minutes later with a magnificent save against Heung-min Son.
Anthony Martial made the running for United in the second half only to find himself thwarted repeatedly by Spurs defender Eric Dier.
And on the one occasion he bested Dier, Lloris was there to make a spectacular stop.
The Red Devils improved when Paul Pogba entered the game in the 63rd minute.
Playing in his first match since suffering an injury last December, the France international brought renewed impetus to the United attack and laid the groundwork for the eventual equalizer.
The match clock had just passed 80 minutes when Pogba drew a foolish foul from Dier inside the area and the referee pointed to the spot.
Bruno Fernandes, acquired by United in the winter transfer window, converted with authority to level the score at 1-1.
History looked set to repeat in the final minute of regulation when the referee awarded United another penalty for what he thought was a foul by Dier. This time, VAR intervened and the penalty was rescinded.
Earlier Friday, Southampton blanked last-place Norwich City 3-0.
Though the Canaries enjoyed a significant edge in possession on their home ground at Carrow Road in Norwich, the visitors from the South Coast were far more dangerous on the attack and only the cross-bar stopped Southampton from taking a 1-0 lead to the dressing room at the break.
Danny Ings put the Saints ahead just four minutes into the second half with a blast from close range that left Norwich keeper Tim Krul with no chance.
It was the 16th Premier League goal of the season for Southampton’s top scorer.
Before the hosts could react, Stuart Armstrong doubled Southampton’s advantage in the 54th minute, finishing off a great individual effort with a low shot just inside the post.