It was a tale of two halves in the Russian capital as Louis van Gaal's Red Devils turned around a characterless first half to eventually land a point through a commanding display in the second lot of 45 minutes in their third Group B outing of the European campaign.
Leonid Slutsky's CSKA side were busy in the opening 45 minutes at the Arena Khimki, particularly early, when they were awarded a penalty for an Anthony Martial handball in the area when the Frenchman inexplicably tried to block Mario Fernandes' cross with his hand.
The Spanish gloveman was then called on to make a vital save to deny Doumbia just after the half-hour mark as well as thwarting Ahmed Musa as United continued to dominate possession but were unable to breach a sturdy CSKA defence.
The second half was a completely different story, however, as van Gaal's replenished charges came out hungry to restore some pride although it took a while for them to really warm up following a tepid beginning.
Finally, some incisive play was produced 25 minutes from time when Antonio Valencia's overlapping run down the right resulted in the Ecuadorian pelting in a cross for a diving Martial to head home for the equaliser.
The final 15 minutes would have been a nervy time for Slutsky as United were looking increasingly likely to snatch a winner and the home side had Igor Akinfeev to thank as the keeper rushed out to deny Marouane Fellaini what would have been a simple tap-in in the 86th minute.
In the end the two combatants had to settle for a share of the points as the Red Devils were seen off by CSKA at the death to record their fourth point of the campaign, leaving them in second position, level on points and goal difference with third-placed Moscow.
Van Gaal will now be hoping his players can get themselves up for a massive Manchester derby with Premier League leaders Manchester City on Sunday as they look to force their way to the summit of the English top flight.
2015/16 UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE - GROUP B