FULHAM defender Brede Hangeland admitted his relief after making up for an own goal by heading the equaliser in a frantic finish at Craven Cottage.
The Norwegian was distraught after a corner ricocheted off his shin and past goalkeeper David Stockdale to put Manchester United back in front with just six minutes to play.
But rookie Stockdale saved a penalty before Hangeland made amends with a towering 89th-minute header to ensure Chelsea remain the only top-flight club to have won both of their opening games.
“Straight after I scored that goal I looked at the clock and saw five minutes to do it,” said Hangeland. “It was great to be able to score from that corner. It’s a terrible feeling [to score an own goal]. I don’t think I could have done anything different. It looked like someone was going to head it. I had one chance to make up for it.”
Fulham had already clawed their way back into contention once, Simon Davies levelling to cancel out Paul Scholes’s opener.
And United wasted a golden opportunity to make the points safe when Damien Duff was controversially judged to have handled and Nani missed from the penalty spot.
“I think everyone accepted that had the penalty been converted the game was over,” said Cottagers boss Mark Hughes.
Sir Alex Ferguson, meanwhile, conceded his Manchester United team would have been undeserving victors. “In fairness to Fulham they were the better team in the second half. I don’t think we deserved to be in front at 2-1,” Ferguson said.
Scholes continued his fine start to the season with a connoisseur’s strike to open the scoring, the veteran capitalising on Fulham’s failure to clear a corner by driving a low first-time shot that bent away from Stockdale into the bottom-right corner.
Fulham refused to cave in, however, and were rewarded in the 58th minute when Davies swept home the equaliser following Bobby Zamora’s cut-back.
Both sides looked in contention to snatch the win until Hangeland put through his own net, and it appeared to be game over when United were awarded a penalty.
But Stockdale – in for the injured Mark Schwarzer – pulled off an outstanding save and Hangeland redeemed himself by out-jumping the visitors’ defence and powering home a header.