Sterling breaks Everton resistance to snatch point for Man City

Walker and Schneiderlin sent off as Rooney scores opener on his return to Manchester

Raheem Sterling scores Manchester City’s late equaliser aganist Everton. Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters

Raheem Sterling scores Manchester City’s late equaliser aganist Everton. Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters

 

Manchester City 1 Everton 1

To the immense credit of Manchester City, there are not many other teams in the Premier League who could come up with this kind of feat of escapology from a position at half-time where they were not only trailing to Everton but playing with 10 men because of Kyle Walker’s red card towards the end of the first half.

By the end, there was even the unmistakeable sense that the players in light blue were disappointed they could not complete the recovery and find a late winner once their substitute, Raheem Sterling, had volleyed in an 82nd minute equaliser. Morgan Schneiderlin’s late dismissal, after two bookings of his own, had levelled the numbers and City were still smouldering with a sense of injustice because of the nature of Walker’s second booking and a piece of amateur dramatics from Dominic Calvert-Lewin to dupe the officials.

The game was certainly not short of talking points and Everton ought to be disappointed that they could not register their second successive win given the story of the first half and another goal for Wayne Rooney to advance the theory that he might yet return to the England set-up. Gareth Southgate, the England manager, was here ahead of Thursday’s squad announcement for the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers against Malta and Slovakia, and it is not too outlandish to think Rooney could be involved.

Wayne Rooney celebrates Everton’s opener - his 200th Premier League goal. Photograph: Michael Regan/Getty
Wayne Rooney celebrates Everton’s opener - his 200th Premier League goal. Photograph: Michael Regan/Getty

This was Rooney’s 200th top-division goal, making him the only player apart from Alan Shearer to reach that number in the Premier League era, but it was hardly the start Ederson would have wanted on his home debut. He was brought in from Benfica, at considerable cost, to avoid these moments after a fairly wretched first season for Claudio Bravo.

At £34.7m, Guardiola could probably be forgiven for thinking his new goalkeeper should have saved Rooney’s shot but the ball went between his legs, ricocheted off a post and the former England captain was wheeling away to celebrate, cupping his ears to the supporters who had been loudly berating him because of his Manchester United connections.

Rooney’s second goal in consecutive league fixtures was also an ordeal for Leroy Sané given it was his mistake trying to keep the ball in play that gave away possession and left City vulnerable to the attack that saw Calvert-Lewin link up with Mason Holgate before laying on the decisive cross.

A couple of minutes earlier, David Silva had cracked a shot against a post and, at that stage, it looked as though City were starting to get on top. Yet Phil Jagielka, in particular, was a difficult opponent for Sergio Agüero, denying the striker on a number of occasions with some outstanding defending, and Walker’s bookings arrived so quickly, one after the other, the game had heavily swung in Everton’s favour by half-time.

Pep Guardiola and Kyle Walker protest the fullback’s sending off aginast Everton. Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters
Pep Guardiola and Kyle Walker protest the fullback’s sending off aginast Everton. Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters

Walker cannot have too many complaints about the first yellow card for a challenge on Leighton Baines. He was, however, entitled to be aggrieved in the extreme about what happened as he and Calvert-Lewin waited for a high ball to come down. Walker did give his opponent a nudge but it was little more than a gentle reminder of his presence.

The Everton forward hit the floor in the manner of someone who had just been elbowed and maybe the officials were swayed by the reaction on the Everton bench, with the coach Duncan Ferguson among those jumping to their feet in exaggerated outrage.

The referee, Bobby Madley, took advice from the fourth official, Michael Oliver, who took the brunt of Ferguson’s anger, and Walker’s first City game in his new stadium had its ignominious conclusion.

As the players returned to the pitch for the second half Guardiola could be seen in the tunnel demonstrating to Oliver precisely what had happened with a little tap of his own and struggling perhaps to conceal the fact he was obviously livid. It is not often the City manager turns on officials in full view of the TV cameras. On this occasion, however, he had a legitimate complaint.

After that, City probably deserve a lot of credit for still having the ability to trouble the side with the numerical advantage. Gabriel Jesus had been removed at half-time and Raheem Sterling instantly set about trying to make a favourable impression on the right.

Everton were guilty at times of not taking enough care of the ball and that encouraged the home side to press forward in search of the equaliser.

Gylfi Sigurdsson, Everton’s new record signing, came on for his debut after an hour but City kept pressing. Danilo, one of their own substitutes, forced a splendid save from Jordan Pickford and then, with eight minutes to go, their perseverance finally paid off. Danilo sent over the cross from the right, Mason Holgate’s header went straight to Sterling and it was a lovely, instinctive volley he sent flying into the corner of Pickford’s net.

(Guardian service)

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