The race for the English Premier League title is still up for grabs after leaders Manchester United were held to a 2-2 draw at Middlesbrough in an entertaining match on Sunday. ( dpa )
Two goals from Afonso Alves helped overturn Cristiano Ronaldo's early strike for United but Wayne Rooney levelled for the visitors with 15 minutes to go.
United remain on top, but they are now just three points clear of Chelsea, with Arsenal not out of it, another three points behind in third. Middlesbrough have 35 points, nine clear of the relegation zone.
United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was full of praise for their spirit.
"It's the nature of our club that we never give in and that's a marvellous quality to have at this time of year," Ferguson said.
"They never give up and they could have won it. But you've got to give some credit to our opponents, I thought they played really well. They put a lot into it. It was a fantastic game of football, the pace was marvellous."
When Ronaldo, unmarked, side-footed Michael Carrick's cross for the opening goal on 10 minutes it looked like United would cruise to victory.
But Middlesbrough were causing the United defence problems - in snowy conditions - and after the referee waved play on when Patrice Evra appeared to be fouled - Alves finished off a nice break to level with his first goal for his new club.
Boro had more chances before Alves latched on to a fortunate flick off Aliaidiere's head before bending the ball past Edwin van der Sar to put Boro ahead.
Rooney smashed a volley wide but then made amends when he side- footed Park Ji-Sung's cross, with the help of a deflection.
And the England striker almost won it for United when he got his head on the end of a cross from substitute Owen Hargreaves, but Mark Schwarzer just managed to keep it out.
Right at the death, Middlesbrough almost pinched it themselves but Van der Sar saved brilliantly to deny substitute Tuncay.
Boro manager Gareth Southgate said: "You can look at the result either way but I'm happy with the way we played. We were definitely good value for at least a point.
"We were up against a team that are both outstanding to watch and to test ourselves against and we had them rattled.
"The team performance was excellent. We answered most of the questions and had them on the back foot for the majority of the game."
In the day's other game, Everton ground out a 1-0 win over bottom side Derby to halve the gap between themselves and Liverpool in the battle for the fourth and last Champions League spot.
Leon Osman scored the only goal of the match in the second half to move Everton to within three points of their city rivals.