Everton scored twice in stoppage time to snatch a dramatic 3-3 draw at home to Manchester United, who left Wayne Rooney
out of their squad after a week of allegations about his private life.
Rooney did not even travel to Goodison Park as manager Sir Alex Ferguson, on the occasion of his 700th Premier League match, claimed he wanted to protect the 24-year-old from abuse from the fans with whom he used to be a favourite.
The disruption appeared to affect his team-mates early on as they fell behind to a Steven Pienaar goal. Patrice Evra missed an ambitious overhead-kick clearance to put Mikel Arteta charging through on goal and although he shot straight at Van der Sar, Leon Osman turned the rebound to Pienaar at the far post who rolled home. Two minutes before half-time, however, Nani's cross was diverted home by Darren Fletcher and Dimitar Berbatov's volley almost put them ahead in added time.
It was apparent at the start of the second half Everton were in for a tougher test and it took just three minutes for that to become a reality. Nani's corner from Berbatov's deflected shot was only half-cleared and when Paul Scholes returned the ball to the Portugal international wide on the right he swung over a cross for an unmarked Nemanja Vidic to head in from five yards.
A raking pass from Scholes then picked out the Bulgarian wide on the right and his first touch brilliantly took him clear of Sylvain Distin. With acres of space to run into the languid striker took five or six paces before lashing an early shot into the bottom corner, taking Tim Howard by surprise.
However, in a dramatic finish Tim Cahill headed home in injury-time before Arteta's deflected strike snatched an unlikely point.