(CNN) -- Manchester United scored two late goals to maintain their unbeaten record in the English Premier League with a 2-2 draw at Aston Villa on Saturday.
United trailed 2-0 with nine minutes remaining at Villa Park but substitute Federico Macheda pulled one back before Nemanja Vidic headed the equalizer to salvage a point for Alex Ferguson's men.
But it means defending champions Chelsea can open up a six-point gap over United with a win over Sunderland on Sunday.
Villa, who fielded an inexperienced team at Villa Park, more than matched their illustrious opponents and led through an Ashley Young penalty and close-range finish from the promising Marc Albrighton.
Manager Gerard Houllier knew that victory was not assured despite their two-goal lead.
"It's Manchester United and even at 2-0 you are not safe.
"We've created a lot of chances but we didn't manage to put it in the back of the net and I was disappointed for the lads."
With England manager Fabio Capello watching, Young earned the 72nd-minute penalty after being fouled by Wes Brown and duly beat Edwin van der Sar from the spot.
Albrighton converted after an excellent Stewart Downing cross four minutes later.
But super-sub Macheda conjured up a powerful finish to pull one back and central defender Vidic leveled after a Nani cross to delight his manager Ferguson, who celebrated wildly on the touchline.
United's bitter local rivals Manchester City saw their title challenge falter again as they were held to a goalless draw at Eastlands by battling Birmingham, but they stay fourth.
It followed the same result in midweek against United in the Manchester derby and manager Roberto Mancini cut a frustrated figure by the final whistle as jeers rung around their stadium.
Liverpool's recent revival came to an abrupt halt with a 2-0 defeat at Stoke in the late kickoff.
Goals from Ricardo Fuller and Kenwyne Jones gave the home side a deserved win and to complete a miserable evening Liverpool had Lucas sent off late in the game for a second yellow card.
But Tottenham Hotspur ended a disappointing run in the league with a 4-2 home win over Blackburn Rovers with in-form Gareth Bale scoring twice.
Roman Pavlyuchenko, who also missed a penalty, and Peter Crouch scored the other Spurs goals before a late Blackburn comeback.
Bolton are up to fifth after winning a five-goal thriller at Wolves, with the home side coming from three down to almost snatch a draw.
Richard Steadman headed into his own net to give Bolton the lead before a brilliant second from Johan Elmander, who beat three defenders before scoring.
Stuart Holden added a third but Kevin Foley and substitute Steven Fletcher grabbed late goals for Wolves.
Newcastle were held goalless by Fulham while West Ham stay bottom after drawing blank in a 0-0 home draw against Blackpool.