Cristiano Ronaldo and Marcos Alonso scored as Manchester United and Chelsea drew 1-1 in the Premier League.
With Champions League qualifying all but out of reach after losses at Liverpool and Arsenal, interim manager Ralf Rangnick’s team escaped with a draw on a night dominated by Thomas Tuchel’s Blues.
Marcos Alonso’s volley was Chelsea’s sole goal against United’s leaky defense, and it was canceled out two minutes later when star man Ronaldo scored to secure a 1-1 draw.
The build-up was overshadowed by reports that Rangnick was contemplating taking over as Austria manager, as well as demonstrations against the Glazer family’s ownership during a second consecutive home match.
‘Glazers out,’ read a sign over the tunnel before kickoff at Old Trafford, where Chelsea failed to convert 11 shots into a merited lead thanks to David De Gea’s saves and poor decision-making.
Tuchel’s troops eventually broke the stalemate in the 60th minute when Alonso volleyed home, but it did not unleash the floodgates. Instead, Ronaldo equalized after former Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic’s clipped ball.
Outstanding Reece James hit the post late on, but despite missing eight players on Thursday, United managed to halt Chelsea’s club record run of eight consecutive away victories in all competitions.
The first half was one-way traffic, with James stinging De Gea’s hands from 20 yards out before sending Timo Werner in for a low attempt on goal.
Man United avoided conceding inside the first five minutes for the third time in a row, but the space Chelsea continued to create was concerning.
After stand-in United captain Bruno Fernandes’ feeble header was saved at the other end, Kai Havertz steered the ball wide, with Ronaldo clobbering a hopeful overhead kick-off target.
United’s forays forward were uncommon, as Chelsea exploited space and produced opportunities with ease.
De Gea became enraged at his defense after N’Golo Kante scored as protestors entered the stadium, having missed a minute in each of the Glazers’ 17 years in power.
As the club struggled, there were further chanting against United’s owners, with Havertz blasting an attempt into the side-netting as Chelsea burst through the enormous spaces created by the home side on a quick counter.
De Gea then denied the Germany international, who was set up by Kante but couldn’t beat the extended goalkeeper. Tuchel was enraged on the sidelines.
As the Chelsea attack continued, a dangerous James cross just missed fellow wing-back, Alonso, at the far post, with De Gea stopping Havertz as he strained to reach a close-range header.
United somehow managed to go into halftime with the game still 0-0.
Mason Mount pulled a chance wide 34 seconds into the second half as Chelsea continued to play with the hosts, who had Fernandes to thank for coming back and stopping Havertz from releasing Kante.
Werner almost missed a stud on a blasted Mount cross, but United’s goal was ultimately broken in the 60th minute.
James was afforded space to float over a right-wing cross that Havertz flicked on for Alonso to smash a crashing volley at the far post.
Man United, on the other hand, are a weird side with an unyielding great heading the line.
Matic placed Ronaldo behind with a smart ball after some poor possession, with the veteran hammering home a 62nd-minute equalizer in front of the Stretford End.
Matic and James collided, and De Gea pushed Mount as tempers flared between two frustrated sides.
Boos greeted the debut of former United striker Romelu Lukaku, who came in alongside Christian Pulisic in an attempt to turn the game back in Chelsea’s favor.
In the 80th minute, James came agonizingly close to putting the visitors back ahead, but his wonderful left-footed attempt curled onto the post.
Victor Lindelof’s stoppage-time header was saved, and the highlight of the final moments was the entrance of promising 17-year-old youngster Alejandro Garnacho for his United debut.