Three minutes later, former Celtic midfielder Shinsuke Nakamura came within a whisker of scoring direct from a corner when his right-wing inswinger was headed off the line by Adnan Januzaj. With their tails up, the Marinos continued to push forward and Marquinhos was denied a second goal only by De Gea’s outstretched left foot.
Jesse Lingard then had a shot blocked at the other end before levelling the scores a minute later from barely a yard out. Van Persie and Lingard had combined well in the centre circle to release Wilfried Zaha down the right wing. He drove into the penalty area before firing a low ball across the six-yard box. Masakazu Tashiro tried valiantly to clear the danger but succeeded only in presenting Lingard with the easiest of tap-ins.
The Reds then took the lead in bizarre circumstances on the half-hour mark. An Adnan Januzaj free-kick seemed to be posing no danger when it looped towards the back post. But goalkeeper Enomoto’s punch struck the hapless Tashiro, who raced back to goal but couldn't clear the ball before it rolled slowly over the line.
Patrice Evra went close with a header and Januzaj forced a routine save from Enomoto before the break, but the Marinos stood firm to keep the margin down to one goal at the interval.
The home side took just four minutes after the restart to bag an equaliser, Marinos defender Fabio heading powerfully home from Shingo Hyodo’s left-wing corner.
A heavy touch in the penalty area prevented Danny Welbeck (on at the break for van Persie) from immediately restoring the Reds’ advantage, while the Longsight-born striker was frustrated moments later by a brave save by half-time substitute goalkeeper Yuji Rokutan.