Raheem Sterling was Manchester City’s saviour once again as his desperately late winner spared their blushes at the Vitality Stadium, securing a 2-1 win over Bournemouth before also getting sent off.
Pep Guardiola’s men were on top for much of the match and looked destined to once again drop points due to their wastefulness in front of goal, but Sterling popped up just as he did to help City draw 1-1 with Everton last time out, this time netting the decisive winner, before receiving a second booking for a celebration which saw him incite fan encroachment.
Even from the early stages it looked as though City were going to have to dig deep if they wanted to take all three points, with Charlie Daniels’ wonderful volley finally getting them off the mark in the Premier League this term.
But that goal seemed to jolt City into life and Gabriel Jesus swiftly hit back, with the Brazilian’s finish sparking something of a siege from Guardiola’s men.
City continued to be in the ascendancy after the break, though they had a lucky escape in the 61st minute, as Josh King hit a fine effort against the left-hand post.
Bournemouth appeared to have done enough as they got deeper into stoppage time, but Sterling’s 97th minute effort stunned the hosts, with the England winger then also getting dismissed, as City stole all three points at the death.
— Manchester City (@ManCity) August 26, 2017
City really struggled to impose themselves as an attacking force during the early exchanges, though the same could not be said for Bournemouth, whose strong start was rewarded in stunning fashion after 13 minutes.
Vincent Kompany initially did well to head a cross out to Bournemouth’s left flank, but Daniels ran on to it and hit an unstoppable volley into the top-right corner via the crossbar.
That was seemingly the shock City needed, however, as they equalised eight minutes later.
Jesus found David Silva with a quick free-kick and continued his run into the penalty area, eventually latching on to the Spaniard’s perfectly weighted return pass and nudging a deft finish past Asmir Begovic.
Nathan Ake was then lucky to remain on the pitch, tripping Jesus when through on goal as the Brazilian charged down a clearance – the defender only shown a yellow card.
City remained well on top and nearly got another just before the break, but Begovic managed to deny Silva from close range after good play by Jesus.
The visitors’ dominance of the ball showed no sign of letting up upon the restart, with City controlling proceedings and severely limiting Bournemouth’s attacking input.
But City were reminded just after the hour mark of the threat Bournemouth can pose, as Daniels’ low cross from the left was met with a first-time effort from King which came back off the frame of the goal.
Nicolas Otamendi also struck the post with 16 minutes to go, and that looked to be City’s final chance, as Bournemouth seemed destined to hold on.
But then, in the seventh minute of stoppage time, Sterling received Danilo’s cut-back and saw an effort deflect off Andrew Surman and into the left side of the goal, sparking huge celebrations among City fans.
6 – Raheem Sterling has now scored six Premier League goals against Bournemouth; more than versus any other club in the competition. Drama.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) August 26, 2017
Sterling was then adjudged to have gotten too involved with those celebrations and was shown his second yellow card, but in the end it had no bearing on the result, as City scraped their second win of the season.
Key Opta Facts:
– Bournemouth have lost their first three league games in a campaign for the first time since 1994-95 in the third tier.
– Since the start of the 2015-16 season, only West Ham (41) have dropped more points from winning positions in the Premier League than Bournemouth (39 – level with Liverpool).
– Gabriel Jesus has been directly involved in 12 goals in his 11 Premier League starts for Man City (eight goals, four assists).
– Manchester City have gone 11 Premier League games without defeat for the first time since September 2015 (W8 D3).
– Sterling is the first Premier League player to be sent off for excessive celebration since Frédéric Piquionne for West Ham v Everton in January 2011. It was Sterling’s first Premier League red card in what was his 162nd appearance in the competition.