Sunday’s result at The Riverside sees United’s lead over Chelsea down to three points – and they still have to go to Stamford Bridge.
United could point to several chances apart from Cristiano Ronaldo’s 37th goal of the campaign and an equaliser from Wayne Rooney, but there was an unusual frailty in defence and Boro were well worth a point.
Perhaps the absence of Nemanja Vidic upset the balance – John O’Shea was never comfortable and Rio Ferdinand also limped off in the second half.
Ronaldo (10) tapped home after good work from Michael Carrick, but two cool finishes from Alves (35 and 56) had United rocking.
But Rooney (74) levelled from substitute Ji-Sung Park’s pull-back from the right.