A red card for Marouane Fellaini and disallowed finish from Gabriel Jesus saw the Manchester Derby end in a heated 0-0 draw.
The build-up to the game was fixated around both teams’ desire to secure European football next season, and the tight opening exchanges showed this.
The first real chance fell to Mourinho’s visitors, after Rashford demonstrated his pace down the right, before squaring it to Ander Herrera. The Spaniard’s whipped cross to the back post looked destined to find the head of the towering Fellaini, but Fernandinho nipped in to knock the ball behind.
City’s first opportunity was a glorious one, spurned by Sergio Aguero. Eric Bailly’s mix up with De Gea saw De Bruyne allowed time to whip in a dangerous ball. The usually reliable Aguero stole in at the front post, but could only strike the base of the bar after he lashed an effort goalwards.
This effort saw City take the ascendancy – which limited United to short-lived counter attacks, attempting to make use of Rashford’s electric pace.
It was the pace in United’s front line that led to arguably the most glaring chance of the first half.
Martial’s run and cross saw the best and worst brought out of much-maligned City goalkeeper, Claudio Bravo. The Chilean shot stopper reached high to palm out Martial’s cross, but he could only parry the ball downwards, straight to the feet of Mkhitaryan. The Armenian was only able to fire his effort straight at Bravo however, with the goalkeeper reacting quickly.
Good saves were forced from De Gea as the half wore on. Aguero’s curling effort looked destined for the far corner for a split second, but the Spaniard was able to comfortably pluck the ball out of the air. Kolarov’s vicious near-post strike also required United’s keeper to be at his best, as he flung himself downwards to smartly save.
United spurned another glorious opportunity on the stroke of half time. Rashford’s teasing delivery fell to the unmarked Herrera at the back post, but he could only guide his header wide when he had more time.
No changes at the interval saw the Citizens start the second half on the front foot.
The home side continued to turn the screw, with lightning wingers Sterling and Sane testing United’s backline. This penned the Red Devils’ wide men, Martial and Mkhitaryan in their own half, leaving United with few outlets during their occasional forays forward.
Otamendi’s goal bound header from a corner was well blocked by Eric Bailly, before an injury forced City into a change of goalkeeper. Claudio Bravo rose highest to collect a United delivery, but as he landed the Chilean noticeably winced, and pulled up with a muscle injury.
The break in play saw Caballero replacing him, and also Jesse Lingard introduced by Mourinho in the place of the ineffective Martial.
As the game entered the final ten minutes, the game took a dramatic twist.
Marouane Fellaini collected a deserved yellow card for a late challenge on Sergio Aguero, despite it being his first foul of the game. However, as Aguero wriggled away from the quick free kick, Fellaini appeared to make contact with the Argentinian again.
Despite referee Atkinson looking likely to give the towering Belgian the benefit of the doubt, Fellaini rashly threw his head forward into Aguero’s face, and rightly received his marching orders.
Mourinho responded by throwing on Timothy Fosu-Mensah, to preserve what could be a precious point for his side.
Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus was brought on by Pep Guardiola – his final roll of the dice. And in the dying stages of added time, it appeared to have paid off. Aguero’s sharp turn and drilled cross found the little Brazilian, who diverted the ball into the net and peeled away in ecstasy.
However, the linesman had raised his flag immediately for offside, meaning United left the home of their closest rivals with a battling point.
How important it will be in their race for the top four still remains to be seen.