The game began with the players on the field taking a knee in solidarity with the movement for racial justice in the United States, and kicked into life on 27 minutes when Steven Bergwijn's solo run and finish opened the scoring for the hosts at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Bergwijn -- latching onto the ball on the right wing -- out-paced a trio of United defenders before his low-and-hard shot beat David De Gea in goal.
Bruno Fernandes equalised from the penalty spot nine minutes from time. After Paul Pogba drew an Eric Dier foul in the box, the Portugal international calmly sent Hugo Lloris the wrong way to secure the late draw.
United were given another penalty in the 90th minute but a VAR rightly ruled that Dier did not stomp on Fernandes when both players were going for a loose ball.
The result keeps Spurs in eighth place in the league table, six points away from a spot in the Champions League. United remain in fifth, two points off fourth-placed Chelsea.
The usual pre-match music bellowed around the empty 62,000-seater stadium, but after the whistle blew an eerie silence descended -- the new normal in the Premier League since the restart from the stoppage caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Despite the lack of atmosphere there was no lack of energy on the field in an often feisty clash.
Marcus Rashford, who used the long break to recover from a back injury, almost gave United the lead after 21 minutes when his close-range volley was kept out by Lloris's legs.
It was Tottenham who went ahead though shortly afterwards.
Pogba replaced the ineffective Fred just past the hour and United were immediately more dangerous.
Twice Anthony Martial looked certain to equalise, first when Dier made a sliding interception to block his shot and then when Lloris produced a stunning flying save.
Victory would have launched Spurs back into the hunt for a top-five finish but Dier's rash tackle left them frustrated.
Information from Reuters was used in this report.