Lee Bowyer hit a contentious 90th-minute equaliser to earn Birmingham City a point at home to Manchester United, who, despite dropping two points, returned to the top of the Premier League.
United have managed just one win in eight away games this season and share top spot with rivals Manchester City, although Sir Alex Ferguson’s side have two games in hand.
The visitors took the lead on 58 minutes when Dimitar Berbatov netted his 14th league goal of the season.
The Bulgarian striker released midfielder Darron Gibson with an intelligent flick and collected the return pass to drive a low shot past City keeper Ben Foster.
Berbatov almost made it two minutes later when his 18-yard strike slammed off a post.
Then came the late drama. City substitute Nikola Zigic threw himself at Roger Johnson’s cross, only for the ball to strike his arm and land for Bowyer to knock the ball under United keeper Edwin van der Sar.
Van der Sar kicked the ball towards the assistant referee with United claiming a foul on Rio Ferdinand by Zigic as well as handball, in addition to offside against Bowyer.
However, referee Lee Mason remained unmoved and the goal stood.
A frustrated Ferguson said: “There was a handball, a foul on the centre-half – if the referee can’t see it, what chance have we got?”
However, Blues boss Alex McLeish disagreed, saying: “It hit his arm, but there was a melee – it wasn’t as if he did it deliberately. It definitely wasn’t offside.”
The draw moves Birmingham out of the relegation zone on goal difference, with the struggling side now sitting 16th in the Premier League table.