Kim Bo-Kyung salvaged a point for Cardiff City and denied Manchester United a fourth-straight win with a late equalizer for a level 2-2 finish at Cardiff City Stadium.
Wayne Rooney and Patrice Evra had given Manchester United the lead, but in stoppage time the Korean substitute snuck up to get a free header on a corner past David de Gea.
A win for David Moyes would have put United past Manchester City in the table, but they could not keep pace with their rivals on the day.
Early on, Rooney was lucky to get away with a cynical foul, and made Cardiff pay a few minutes later for the opener.
The Manchester United talisman received a yellow card in the eighth minute for a kick to the calf of Jordan Mutch, but referee Neil Swarbrick let Rooney off the hook as replays showed the kick was malicious enough to warrant an early sending off.
The English striker soon made amends. Ben Turner gave the ball away to Antonio Valencia on the right wing who crossed in for Javier Hernandez in the box. Chicharito brilliantly first-touch flicked to Rooney, and the 28-year-old stopped, spun, and shot, with the ball deflecting off Gary Medel and finding the back of the net.
Cardiff searched for an equalizer, as Peter Odemwingie fired over in the 23rd minute. They would have to wait 10 more minutes, but it would come on two outstanding through balls.
Peter Whittingham in his own half slotted through Mutch, who settled on the run and found Frazier Campbell who had beaten his defender Jonny Evans. Campbell made no mistakes, cooly taking the chance past David De Gea to bring it back level.
Unfortunately, set-piece defending lost Cardiff lead just as they gained it. On the stroke of halftime, Rooney sent in a corner and Patrice Evra finished it off with a pinpoint header to the far post for a 2-1 Manchester United lead.
David Marshall had to keep out Manchester United twice early in the second half, as three successive corners from Wayne Rooney produced two real chances but Marshall saved well on both.
Campbell almost leveled again a few minutes later after he knicked the ball from Tom Cleverley, but the striker could only hit the crossbar.
That was Cardiff’s last opportunity for a while, as both teams showed some tired legs as the clock ticked. Both sides countered with substitutions, and things began to open up again in the United defensive half.
The Bluebirds got a decent spell of pressure around the 70th minute, but could not capitalize on a dangerous free kick and a corner.
Substitute Danny Welbeck had a clear chance to put it away for United in the 81st minute, but fired over after being sprung through by a brilliant one-two with Rooney, a moment they would come to rue.
United tried to keep possession in order to quell late Cardiff pressure, but once stoppage time came around, Cardiff pressed forward. They earned a corner, and Kim finished off the deal.
Fellow substitute Andreas Cornelius ran from the back of the pack all the way up front, pulling two defenders with him. This allowed Kim to sneak forward and slot himself free in the middle, and he didn’t miss with the header to equalize.
Rooney had a brilliant chance to respond right away, but all alone with Welbeck at his side, he tried to lay off the ball to his teammate, and left it way too short for Marshall to collect.
Instead of fourth place in the Premier League table, United can only manage sixth, level with Everton and one behind Southampton (that still feels weird to say) and City. Cardiff remain in 15th but grab level on points with Stoke in the tightly-packed bottom half.
Cardiff City – Campbell 33′, Kim 90+1′
Manchester United – Rooney 15′, Evra 45′
Cardiff City – Marshall; Taylor, Caulker, Turner, Theophile-Catherine; Medel, Whittingham, Mutch (Kim, 77′), Cowie; Odemwingie (Noone, 65′), Campbell (Cornelius, 84′).
Manchester United – De Gea; Smalling, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra; Fellaini, Cleverley; Valencia, Rooney, Januzaj (Welbeck, 68′); Hernandez (Giggs, 73′).