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EPL: Honours even as United leave it late against Chelsea

London: Robin van Persie's goal deep into stoppage-time snatched a 1-1 draw for Manchester United against Premier League leaders Chelsea at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Manchester United's Dutch striker Robin van Persie celebrates with teammates after scoring his late equalising goal as Chelsea's Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois (L) and Chelsea's English defender Gary Cahill (2nd L) react during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Chelsea at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England. Pic/AFP
Manchester United's Dutch striker Robin van Persie celebrates with teammates after scoring his late equalising goal as Chelsea's Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois (L) and Chelsea's English defender Gary Cahill (2nd L) react during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Chelsea at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England. Pic/AFP 

Chelsea were on the brink of going six points clear at the top of the table when defender Branislav Ivanovic was sent-off late on for a second bookable offence. From the ensuing Angel di Maria free-kick, Marouane Fellaini's header was well-saved by impressive Chelsea goalkeeper Thibault Courtois but van Persie followed up to score.

It had seemed Didier Drogba, making his first start in the Premier League this season, had struck the decisive blow when, in the absence of injured forwards Diego Costa and Loic Remy, he powered in a 53rd minute header which went in off van Persie to give the veteran Ivory Coast forward his first English top-flight goal since March 2012.

Afterwards Mourinho could not hide his frustration at Ivanovic's dismissal, particularly as the Blues defender had earlier been denied what looked like a penalty when he went down under the challenge of Chris Smalling. "The red card, I was seeing it coming," Mourinho told the BBC.

"If I have to speak about the second yellow (for Ivanovic) I have to speak about lots of things -- the penalty that Ivanovic should have been given...I know I speak always with my heart and get in trouble." Asked about the 36-year-old Drogba's display, the Portuguese manager added: "For me as a coach it's not fair to speak about Didier because my team was fantastic.

They were brilliant." - Good sign for United - This result left Chelsea four points clear of second-placed Southampton and ensured honours were even between Mourinho and Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal, under whom the Blues boss worked when the Dutchman was in charge of Barcelona. "I've said to the players we could have won but nevertheless we didn't and that's our fault," van Gaal told the BBC.

"When you can do that against the best team in this league at this moment it is a good sign," added the United manager, whose side are now 10 points behind Chelsea. "I'm not pleased as I still have the feeling we could have won today and that we don't take our opportunities at the moment." Earlier, Newcastle United climbed out of the bottom three with a 2-1 win away to Tottenham Hotspur while winless Burnley remained rooted in the relegation zone after a 3-1 loss at home to Everton.

Fresh from their first victory of the season, at home to Leicester last weekend, Newcastle came from behind at White Hart Lane to enjoy back-to-back victories for the first time in nearly eight months. Emmanuel Adebayor's 18th-minute header gave Tottenham the lead but just six seconds after the break, Newcastle were level when Sammy Ameobi, a half-time substitute, chased down a long ball from Jack Colback and beat Spurs' goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.

And their comeback was complete when Ayoze Perez expertly headed in a cross to the back post from Remy Cabella, another half-time substitution by Newcastle manager Alan Pardew, in the 58th minute. "It was good to get on -- I actually told Jack Colback to get the ball into the corner from the kick-off," said Ameobi. "To get out of the relegation zone gives us a great lift."

Elsewhere, veteran Cameroon striker Samuel Eto'o scored twice for Everton in a comfortable win at Turf Moor. Promoted Burnley fell behind in just the fourth minute after Eto'o headed in Leighton Baines's cross. But Burnley hit back with a 20th-minute equaliser from striker Danny Ings after Chelsea's Romelu Lukaku gave the ball away But Lukaku went from villain to hero by restoring the visitors' lead in the 29th minute when, after his initial effort was blocked, he struck from close range.

Eto'o then made it 3-1 with a superb curling shot from the edge of the box four minutes from time and only the post then denied him a hat-trick. Everton manager Roberto Martinez hailed Eto'o's display by telling Sky Sports: "I think what he brings is a real know-how, a real experience."

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