Manchester United need a point in their last Champions League Group C game against Basel if they are to ensure qualification for the knockout stages after drawing with Benfica.
United recovered from Phil Jones's third-minute own goal when Dimitar Berbatov headed in Nani's cross.
Darren Fletcher then ghosted in to prod past Artur to make it 2-1, but Pablo Aimar equalised from close range.
Berbatov and Rodrigo both had late chances to win it but were off target.
The United forward's chance was the better one as he volleyed over from Fabio's centre 12 minutes from the end.
But although Sir Alex Ferguson's side were without the injured Wayne Rooney, they will be frustrated to have thrown away a lead having worked so hard to establish themselves in the game.
Fletcher's goal on 59 minutes came after a sustained period of pressure on the visitors' goal, but Benfica's equaliser a minute later followed a poor clearance by United goalkeeper David de Gea.
The result means Benfica have already qualified, and United will need to better Benfica's efforts against Otelul Galati in the last round of games if they have any hopes of topping the group.
Still, the hosts may be content with the draw on a cold night, as they looked partially frozen when Benfica went ahead with a rapier-like attack.
GROUP C PERMUTATIONS
- Man Utd will qualify if they get a point at Basel
- They can top the group if they better Benfica's result against Otelul Galati
- If Benfica win against the Romanian side they top the group
- Basel can still qualify if they beat Man Utd
Nicolas Gaitan, who has impressed in Portugal this season, was fed down the right and when he checked back onto his left foot, his cross hit Patrice Evra before Jones deflected into his own net.
Old Trafford was stunned but the fans began to shake off their disbelief when Nani went on several trademark dribbles, and Ashley Young had a shot saved.
Gaitan and Aimar were joining the Benfica midfield to run rings around Michael Carrick and Fletcher, but once United improved their passing out of defence, they started to create problems for the visitors.
Berbatov was playing in front of Young and was largely anonymous before he equalised.
And although there was a suggestion of offside to his header from Nani's centre, it was a fine strike as he notched his first Champions League goal since 2008, and his second this season.
The Bulgarian almost set up Young for a second moments after scoring, but Benfica keeper Artur produced a decent stop and Aimar was also denied by De Gea in a frantic five minutes.
United maintained their high tempo at the start of the second period as Young's shot was blocked by the impressive Ezequiel Garay, before Fabio tried to chip Artur.
With the pressure building on the Benfica defence, the hosts took the lead when Fletcher arrived in the box to poke in Evra's cross at the second attempt just before the hour.
That should have settled Ferguson's men with Carrick beginning to produce some clever passes, but their advantage only lasted a minute.
De Gea's short kick fell to Bruno Cesar, who dribbled into the United box and crossed for Aimar to equalise despite Rio Ferdinand's attempt to clear.
It would have left Ferguson fuming after his side had worked so hard to turn the game around, and the Benfica goal once again knocked United's rhythm.
With parity restored, Jorge Jesus's team began to show the same confidence they had in the first 15 minutes, although Berbatov could have had a second when he volleyed over from 10 yards.
Perhaps United would have been satisfied with the result after Rodrigo went close in the dying stages, but they can afford to show little of the same carelessness when they travel to Switzerland to face Basel.
- 01 De Gea
- 03 Evra
- 04 Jones
- 05 Ferdinand
- 20 F Da Silva (Smalling - 82' )
- 16 Carrick Booked
- 17 Nani
- 18 Young
- 24 Fletcher Booked
- 25 Valencia (Hernandez - 80' )
- 09 Berbatov
- 34 Lindegaard
- 12 Smalling
- 21 Rafael
- 11 Giggs
- 13 Park Ji-sung
- 28 Gibson
- 14 Hernandez
- 01 Artur Booked
- 03 Emerson
- 04 Luisao (Miguel Vitor - 58' )
- 14 Pereira Booked
- 24 Garay Booked
- 06 Javi Garcia
- 08 Bruno Cesar
- 10 Aimar (Amorim - 83' )
- 20 Gaitan (Matic - 67' )
- 28 Witsel
- 19 Machado
- 47 Eduardo
- 27 Miguel Vitor
- 05 Amorim
- 16 Oliveira
- 21 Matic
- 07 Cardozo
- 09 Nolito
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The final whistle goes and the game is over.90:00 +2:30
Ashley Young takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line to the near post, clearance by Ruben Amorim.90:00 +2:24
The ball is crossed by Luis Nani.90:00 +2:03
Centre by Ashley Young, save made by Guilherme Artur Moraes.90:00 +0:40
Chris Smalling produces a right-footed shot from just outside the area that goes harmlessly over the target.90:00 +0:34
The ball is crossed by Luis Nani, clearance made by Ezequiel Garay.90:00 +0:15
The ball is delivered by Luis Nani, Ruben Amorim makes a clearance.88:48
Machado Rodrigo Moreno produces a drilled left-footed shot from deep inside the penalty box which goes wide of the left-hand post.87:31
Javier Hernandez is caught offside. Indirect free kick taken by Guilherme Artur Moraes.86:04
Centre by Ashley Young.84:41
Ashley Young takes the direct free kick.84:41 Booking
Booking Victorio Maxi Pereira receives a yellow card.84:36
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Ashley Young by Victorio Maxi Pereira.82:22 Substitution
Substitution Pablo Aimar leaves the field to be replaced by Ruben Amorim.81:58
Machado Rodrigo Moreno produces a curled right-footed shot from deep inside the penalty area which goes wide of the right-hand post.81:19 Substitution
Substitution Chris Smalling joins the action as a substitute, replacing Fabio Da Silva.81:07
Patrice Evra sends in a cross, clearance made by Francisco Javi Garcia.79:41 Substitution
Substitution Javier Hernandez joins the action as a substitute, replacing Antonio Valencia.78:51
The ball is delivered by Pablo Aimar.78:02
Centre by Fabio Da Silva, Dimitar Berbatov produces a right-footed shot from inside the area that clears the crossbar.
Unfair challenge on Darren Fletcher by Francisco Javi Garcia results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Michael Carrick.75:48
Ezequiel Garay takes the free kick.75:48 Booking
Booking Michael Carrick receives a yellow card.75:45
Michael Carrick concedes a free kick for a foul on Pablo Aimar.75:37
The ball is sent over by Darren Fletcher, save made by Guilherme Artur Moraes.75:06
Victorio Maxi Pereira gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Ashley Young. Free kick taken by Ashley Young.74:28
Corner from the right by-line taken by Luis Nani, clearance made by Nemanja Matic.73:23
Patrice Evra fouled by Axel Witsel, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by David De Gea.72:15
Darren Fletcher produces a left-footed shot from outside the penalty area and misses left.72:08
Phil Jones delivers the ball, Nemanja Matic gets a block in.71:01
Effort on goal by Pablo Aimar from just outside the area goes harmlessly over the target.69:17
The ball is sent over by Pablo Aimar, clearance by Rio Ferdinand.67:09
Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Luis Nani from the right by-line to the near post, Ezequiel Garay manages to make a clearance.66:37 Substitution
Substitution Nemanja Matic joins the action as a substitute, replacing Nicolas Gaitan.65:22
Pablo Aimar concedes a free kick for a foul on Michael Carrick. Free kick taken by Darren Fletcher.64:20
Dimitar Berbatov is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Guilherme Artur Moraes restarts play with the free kick.63:51
The ball is delivered by Antonio Valencia, Victorio Maxi Pereira manages to make a clearance.62:50
The assistant referee signals for offside against Ashley Young. Guilherme Artur Moraes takes the indirect free kick.61:12
Unfair challenge on Ezequiel Garay by Ashley Young results in a free kick. Ezequiel Garay restarts play with the free kick.60:00 Goal scored
Goal! - Pablo Aimar - Man Utd 2 - 2 Benfica Pablo Aimar grabs a goal from close range high into the middle of the goal. Man Utd 2-2 Benfica.58:40 Goal scored
Goal! - Darren Fletcher - Man Utd 2 - 1 Benfica A goal is scored by Darren Fletcher from close in to the top left corner of the goal. Man Utd 2-1 Benfica.58:38
Darren Fletcher takes a shot. Save by Guilherme Artur Moraes.57:49 Substitution
Substitution Angelo Miguel Vitor joins the action as a substitute, replacing Anderson Luisao.57:28
Dimitar Berbatov delivers the ball, clearance by Victorio Maxi Pereira.56:20
Inswinging corner taken by Ashley Young, save by Guilherme Artur Moraes.54:06
Fabio Da Silva takes a shot from 12 yards. Save by Guilherme Artur Moraes.53:58
Antonio Valencia crosses the ball, Anderson Luisao manages to make a clearance.52:30
Luis Nani concedes a free kick for a foul on Axel Witsel. Anderson Luisao takes the direct free kick.51:46
Foul by Pablo Aimar on Michael Carrick, free kick awarded. Luis Nani produces a shot on goal direct from the free kick.51:02
Luis Nani crosses the ball, Ashley Young takes a shot. Blocked by Ezequiel Garay.50:28
A cross is delivered by Luis Nani, save by Guilherme Artur Moraes.50:17
Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Ashley Young from the left by-line.49:13
Ashley Young is caught offside. Guilherme Artur Moraes takes the indirect free kick.49:03
A cross is delivered by Antonio Valencia.48:20
Nicolas Gaitan takes the chance to get an effort at goal. Save by David De Gea.47:38
Ashley Young crosses the ball.46:50
The referee blows for offside. Guilherme Artur Moraes restarts play with the free kick.45:34
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Dimitar Berbatov by Ezequiel Garay. Michael Carrick restarts play with the free kick.45:01
The referee blows his whistle to start the second half.45:00 +0:21 Half time
Half Time The ref blows to signal half-time.44:08
The referee blows for offside. Indirect free kick taken by Guilherme Artur Moraes.43:16
Pablo Aimar takes the chance to get an effort at goal. Save by David De Gea.42:36
Dimitar Berbatov concedes a free kick for a foul on Conceicao Emerson. Guilherme Artur Moraes restarts play with the free kick.41:45
Corner taken right-footed by Ashley Young, Guilherme Artur Moraes makes a save.41:30
Shot on goal by Dimitar Berbatov from just inside the area clears the crossbar.40:48
Pablo Aimar concedes a free kick for a foul on Antonio Valencia. Phil Jones takes the free kick.40:25
Foul by Phil Jones on Axel Witsel, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Anderson Luisao.39:00
Indirect free kick taken by Guilherme Artur Moraes.39:00 Booking
Booking Guilherme Artur Moraes is booked.38:43
The referee blows for offside against Patrice Evra.38:10
Francisco Javi Garcia gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Dimitar Berbatov. Phil Jones takes the free kick.36:45
Fabio Da Silva gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Zanaki Bruno Cesar. Ezequiel Garay takes the direct free kick.36:20
Foul by Axel Witsel on Michael Carrick, free kick awarded. Michael Carrick restarts play with the free kick.34:56
The ball is crossed by Luis Nani, save by Guilherme Artur Moraes.33:40
Zanaki Bruno Cesar takes the inswinging corner, save by David De Gea.33:21
Shot from outside the box by Zanaki Bruno Cesar goes wide right of the target.33:12
Nicolas Gaitan sends in a cross, clearance by Darren Fletcher.32:24 Booking
Booking Booking for Darren Fletcher for dissent.31:33
Centre by Antonio Valencia, save by Guilherme Artur Moraes.30:41
Pablo Aimar takes a shot. Save by David De Gea.29:27
The assist for the goal came from Luis Nani.29:27 Goal scored
Goal! - Dimitar Berbatov - Man Utd 1 - 1 Benfica Dimitar Berbatov scores a headed goal from inside the box. Man Utd 1-1 Benfica.29:26
The ball is crossed by Luis Nani,28:33
Zanaki Bruno Cesar concedes a free kick for a foul on Ashley Young. Free kick taken by Ashley Young.25:32
Unfair challenge on Fabio Da Silva by Axel Witsel results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Michael Carrick.24:38
Dimitar Berbatov concedes a free kick for a foul on Anderson Luisao. Free kick taken by Anderson Luisao.23:30
Fabio Da Silva gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Pablo Aimar. Pablo Aimar crosses the ball, Headed effort from deep inside the area by Francisco Javi Garcia misses to the left of the goal.22:50
Ashley Young is ruled offside. Indirect free kick taken by Guilherme Artur Moraes.21:19
Free kick awarded for a foul by Luis Nani on Victorio Maxi Pereira. Direct free kick taken by Guilherme Artur Moraes.20:29
Ashley Young takes a shot. Comfortable save by Guilherme Artur Moraes.20:22
Centre by Luis Nani, clearance by Francisco Javi Garcia.19:56
Foul by Francisco Javi Garcia on Luis Nani, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Patrice Evra.17:38
The official flags Ashley Young offside. Guilherme Artur Moraes takes the free kick.15:28
Strike on goal comes in from Luis Nani from the free kick, save by Guilherme Artur Moraes.15:28 Booking
Booking Ezequiel Garay receives a caution.15:15
Luis Nani fouled by Ezequiel Garay, the ref awards a free kick.12:52
Foul by Patrice Evra on Nicolas Gaitan, free kick awarded. Axel Witsel takes the direct free kick.11:36
Unfair challenge on Antonio Valencia by Conceicao Emerson results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Michael Carrick.9:45
The ball is crossed by Luis Nani, clearance by Anderson Luisao.8:56
Foul by Nicolas Gaitan on Ashley Young, free kick awarded. Ashley Young takes the free kick.8:12
Foul by Pablo Aimar on Phil Jones, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Rio Ferdinand.6:26
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Francisco Javi Garcia by Luis Nani. Francisco Javi Garcia takes the free kick.5:52
Effort on goal by Pablo Aimar from just outside the penalty area goes harmlessly over the target.5:31
Corner taken short by Pablo Aimar.4:56
Axel Witsel fouled by Patrice Evra, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Pablo Aimar.3:37 Goal scored
Goal! - Phil Jones - Man Utd 0 - 1 Benfica Phil Jones puts the ball into his own net from 6 yards. Man Utd 0-1 Benfica.3:05
Shot by Nicolas Gaitan. Phil Jones gets a block in.1:11
Free kick awarded for a foul by Anderson Luisao on Ashley Young. Ashley Young restarts play with the free kick.0:00
The match has kicked off.
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