Manchester United were on the verge of a famous comeback, only to see their opponents Fulham score a late equaliser of their own.
United fell behind to a Steve Sidwell goal in the 19th minute, despite the champions dominating possession and the visitors playing a defensive shape.
Such was the dominance of David Moyes side that it appeared only a matter of time before they broke Fulham down. And yet time and again the visitors' defence held firm.
That was until Robin van Persie finally struck from close-range following good play from Juan Mata - who did not enjoy the best of games.
The goal in the 78th minute was quickly followed by a deflected Michael Carrick effort just two minutes later, the United midfielder's long-range effort taking a nick off Scott Parker and flying past Martin Stekelenburg.
It seemed United had snatched victory from the jaws of an unlikely defeat. But they had not reckoned on one final twist, with David de Gea parrying a Kieran Richardson shot high into the air and Darren Bent tucking home to leave Old Trafford stunned.