London – Paul Pogba made an immediate impact in his return from surgery, earning a penalty converted by Bruno Fernandes that helped Manchester United to a 1-1 draw at Tottenham in the English Premier League on Friday.
While teams have endured three months without games during the COVID-19 pandemic, Pogba hasn't played since December. He didn't enter the game until the 63rd minute and with the hosts leading 1-0 after Steven Bergwijn's 27th-minute strike went through goalkeeper David de Gea's hands.
"David is disappointed with it but the ball was moving," United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said.
Pogba, whose United future has been mired in uncertainty, helped inject some of the attacking dynamism United had been missing.
After Pogba was bundled off the ball by Eric Dier, Fernandes netted his third penalty since joining United in January.
"Paul showed some real quality out there,” Solskjaer said. "He contributed really, really much for us to get a point and maybe could have helped us to get the three points. He did everything a midfielder should do. He tackled, he won the ball. He played passes and he showed some skills, so fantastic to have him back.”
United was denied a second penalty when VAR overturned the decision to penalize Dier for another foul — this time on Fernandes.
United is three points behind fourth-placed Chelsea having played an extra game. But fifth place will clinch a Champions League spot if second-placed Manchester City's two-year ban from Europe for breaking financial rules is upheld next month. Tottenham remained four points behind United.
The start of the game saw players immediately take a knee as part of the Black Lives Matter protests.