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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 18 June 2018

Sterling hits peak as City rescue a point

Pep Guardiola's team strikes late to spoil Rooney's return to Manchester

Raheem Sterling scores a late equaliser against Everton (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Raheem Sterling scores a late equaliser against Everton (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Raheem Sterling secured a late equaliser for 10-man Manchester City in a 1-1 draw with Everton as Wayne Rooney threatened to heap fresh misery on his former neighbours in a first return to the city with his new employers.

Rooney – the former Manchester United striker who moved to Everton over the summer – scored in the 35th minute to become only the second player to reach 200 goals in the Premier League after former England forward Alan Shearer.

The 31-year-old striker was constantly jeered during the match at the Etihad Stadium because of his Manchester United connections and wheeled away cupping his hands to his ears after scoring from close range during an intriguing match between two sides who have spent heavily over the summer.

One of those City acquisitions, Kyle Walker, marked his home debut following a £50 million switch from Tottenham Hotspur with a first-half sending off with two yellow cards within three minutes. It was one of many controversial refereeing decisions during the match.

Despite being down to ten men, Manchester City that showed greater attacking intent during the second half, which finally paid off when substitute Sterling unleashed an unstoppable volley after latching on to a poor headed clearance by Mason Holgate.

In the frantic closing minutes - which saw Everton midfielder Morgan Schneiderlein sent off in the 88th minute – Manchester City came closest to scoring.

The draw left both teams on four points after two Premier League games.

Rooney’s old club Manchester United tops the table with two straight wins with a dominance that has suggested that Jose Mourinho’s side would over will push Pep Guardiola’s team hard for the Premier League title and city bragging rights.

Manchester City created most chances but the team’s misfiring frontline failed to convert any of them until Sterling’s late effort.

"We created the chances but we didn't finish. We have to keep trying to create the chances,” said Guardiola.

"We have done everything, I don't know how many chances we created, I don't know how many chances they created with 10 versus 11."

Everton’s goal also failed to quell questions over the position of goalkeeper with Rooney’s first-time struck shot hitting the heel of Ederson Moraes – another summer arrival – on the heel before hitting the post and finding the back of the net.

In addition to the late goal, the City fans were rewarded with a yellow card for Rooney, who picked up a booking for dissent in a sign of frustration at the late loss of three points.

Everton manager Ronald Koeman said he was disappointed at the failure of his team to hang on for victory.

“Of course maybe you will sign for that point before the game, but (we were) 1-0 up at half-time and 11 against 10,” he said.