Gallas, under intense pressure from Rooney, headed clear from underneath his own crossbar as the match entered its final phase, before Paul Scholes saw a blistering 25-yard effort well saved by Friedel and Carrick clipped the crossbar with a near-post flick-on.
All the while, the seconds on the clock ticked away and, with them, United's chances of victory faded.
In the end, despite a valliant final few minutes that even saw Lindegaard charge into the Tottenham penalty area, there was no dramatic comeback.
Defeat, a fate sealed by two sloppy concessions in the first half, was bitterly disappointing. And although Sir Alex wil rue those early defensive errors, he can take comfort in the knowledge that once again his team have been involved in one of the Premier League's truly memorable matches.