Paul Pogba returned to action for first time since 26 December to earn the late penalty that earned Manchester United a crucial point at Tottenham Hotspur.
Pogba, who has not played for almost six months because of an ankle injury that needed surgery, emerged as a second-half substitute and demonstrated he has the creativity to make a difference as United battle for a place in the top four.
United keeper David de Gea was badly at fault when he failed to stop Steven Bergwijn’s powerful 27th-minute drive, so there was relief all-round for the visitors when Pogba surged into the area before he was hauled down clumsily by Eric Dier.
In the cavernous spaces of the deserted Tottenham Hotspur Stadium – as the match was played behind closed doors – Bruno Fernandes equalised with an emphatic penalty.
Spurs survived a last-minute scare as referee Jon Moss pointed to the spot again when Dier collided with Fernandes but the video assistant referee correctly reversed a poor decision.
De Gea made a measure of amends with a superb save from Son Heung-min shortly after his error, while Hugo Lloris made a magnificent flying save from Anthony Martial as United chased an equaliser.
It finally arrived via that Fernandes spot-kick nine minutes from time to leave United in fifth place, four points ahead of Spurs.