Raheem Sterling’s fierce 82nd-minute volley saved 10-man Manchester City from defeat as they drew 1-1 at home to Everton on Monday after Wayne Rooney had put the visitors ahead at the Etihad Stadium.
Pep Guardiola’s City had been forced to play the entire second half with a man down after Kyle Walker was sent off for a second yellow card on the stroke of halftime.
The numbers were eventually evened up late on when Everton’s Morgan Schneiderlin was also sent off, again for a second bookable offence, in the 88th minute
Although Everton delivered a determined and tactically astute display, a draw was fair reward for City who had launched waves of attacks throughout the second half.
Rooney was set to be the hero after his second goal in as many games this season. The strike was his 200th in the Premier League, making him just the second player after former England forward Alan Shearer to reach that milestone.
City, who have spent more than 200 million pounds so far in the transfer window, fielded an attacking line-up with Leroy Sane given the left wing-back role, while Everton manager Ronald Koeman selected eight English players including youngsters Mason Holgate and Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
Not surprisingly it was the home side who posed the early threats and Everton defender Phil Jagielka was forced to head over his own bar in the 26th minute to clear a Sergio Aguero chip.
Skipper Jagielka saved the day from more Aguero danger seven minutes later when his outstretched leg foiled the Argentine as he burst goalwards.
For City, everything was coming through Aguero, who turned creator with a beautiful pass with the outside of his foot to David Silva. The Spaniard collected and fired a fierce shot which hammered into the post.
Within a minute of almost going a goal down though, Everton took the lead when Rooney, the former Manchester United forward whose every touch was booed by the Etihad crowd, struck.
Leroy Sane gave the ball away in his own half and Holgate fed Calvert-Lewin who showed a clever touch to wriggle space for a low cross into the path of Rooney whose side-footed shot went through the legs of City’s Brazilian keeper Ederson.
Rooney celebrated his strike with passion and cupped ears for City’s fans.
Matters got worse for City, a minute before the interval, when Walker, making his home debut following his move from Tottenham, was dismissed after his challenge on Calvert-Lewin, a decision that City disputed.
Despite City’s numerical disadvantage, there was little change in the pattern of the game after the break with Guardiola’s team pouring forward but clearcut chances were hard to find against a well-organised Everton defence.
Substitute Sterling should have done better in the 75th minute but blasted high over the bar from a promising position and then another replacement, Danilo, forced Jordan Pickford into a save with a low drive from a tight angle.
But Guardiola was saved from an opening home defeat when Sterling met a headed clearance from Holgate and unleashed an unstoppable volley.
Despite Schneiderlin’s contentious dismissal for a foul on Aguero, Everton held firm in the final stages, even after as City went all out for a win.