LONDON (REUTERS) - Raheem Sterling struck in the seventh minute of stoppage time to earn Manchester City a 2-1 Premier League victory over Bournemouth on Saturday (Aug 26) but was then sent off in a tumultuous finale on the south coast.
Seconds after Bournemouth had a chance to snatch victory the ball went back down the other end and Sterling’s deflected shot looped past helpless Bournemouth keeper Asmir Begovic.
Sterling ran towards the celebrating City fans, some of whom spilled on to the pitch and, after order was restored by stewards and police, referee Mike Dean showed Sterling a second yellow card having already booked him earlier.
It was a crazy end to an absorbing contest which had burst into life when Charlie Daniels lashed home a contender for “goal of the season” to give hosts Bournemouth a 13th-minute lead.
Daniels let fly with a left-foot shot from wide on the left and the ball flew past keeper Ederson and in off the crossbar.
Bournemouth’s lead lasted only eight minutes though as Gabriel Jesus, preferred by manager Pep Guardiola to Sergio Aguero who was on the bench, stroked home after a lethal pass by City’s midfield wizard David Silva.
Both sides struck the woodwork after the interval and Bournemouth looked set for their first point of the season until Sterling’s late stunner broke home hearts.
Victory gave City seven points from their opening three games and put them, temporarily at least, on top of the table.
City have now had a player sent off in two consecutive games after Kyle Walker saw red in the 1-1 draw with Everton on Monday and Guardiola was frustrated by the decision.
“Maybe someone can explain to me because I would like to know,” Guardiola told Sky Sports.
“He ran to celebrate. If you can’t celebrate with the fans maybe we should play without fans.”
After recovering from a poor opening 13 minutes City dominated possession, although Bournemouth were always a threat with Jermain Defoe, making his first start since joining, and Josh King both lively up front.
King curled an effort against the post in the second half while City’s Nicolas Otamendi was also denied by the woodwork.
For the most past it was a rearguard action by Bournemouth but they did scent a famous victory deep into stoppage time when King burst clear but saw his low shot saved by Ederson.
Seconds later City were awarded a free kick and they quickly moved the ball down field where Danilo combined with Sterling and the former Liverpool player’s shot clipped the heel of Andrew Surman’s foot before looping into the net.
It was a bitter blow for Bournemouth who have now endured their worst start since joining the Premier League in 2015 – losing all three games – and things do not get any easier with a trip to Arsenal next up.
“We thought we had hung on for a point, we had chances to win it too, I am disappointing for the players and the supporters,” manager Eddie Howe said. “I am enthused by the performance, which was better than our first two.”