It’s‘mad­ness’as City seal ex­tra-time win

The Sunday Independent - - DISPATCHES -

LON­DON: The crazy world of Premier League foot­ball was en­cap­su­lated in one as­ton­ish­ing minute deep in stop­page time as Ra­heem Ster­ling sealed a 2-1 vic­tory for Manch­ester City at Bournemouth and was promptly sent off for cel­e­brat­ing too hard.

“Mad­ness. The first thing I did was say to Ben­jamin Mendy and Bernardo Silva, ‘Wel­come to the Premier League’,” City skip­per Vin­cent Kom­pany said of the breath­less late drama on the sunny south coast.

Eng­land’s top league is well­known for its hel­ter-skel­ter ac­tion and if they did not re­alise it al­ready, both new sign­ings, Mendy, who was mak­ing his de­but, and Silva, who started for the first time, will now re­alise that it is al­ways wise to ex­pect the un­ex­pected in the Premier League.

City were head­ing for a po­ten­tially costly sec­ond 1-1 draw of the week when, seven min­utes into stop­page time, Ster­ling com­bined with Danilo and his half-blocked shot span into the net past Bournemouth’s keeper As­mir Be­govic.

Ster­ling raced to­wards City’s trav­el­ling fans to cel­e­brate and was en­gulfed as sev­eral of them spilled over bar­ri­ers and on to the pitch, forc­ing po­lice and stew­ards to in­ter­vene.

Af­ter or­der was re­stored ref­eree Mike Dean showed Ster­ling his sec­ond yel­low card of the game and the dis­be­liev­ing Eng­land for­ward de­parted.

Sec­onds be­fore City’s win­ner, Josh King had spurned a great chance for the hosts.

While happy with vic­tory, City’s man­ager Pep Guardi­ola was less san­guine about Ster­ling’s red card.

“I am told the card was for cel­e­brat­ing with the fans. We don’t in­vite the fans? Maybe we play with­out fans?” he said.

Rules say that play­ers must not go into the crowd to cel­e­brate goals or pro­voke any­thing that might be danger­ous, al­though it ap­peared Ster­ling was sim­ply cel­e­brat­ing in front of them when he was swal­lowed up.

He re­ceived plenty of sym­pa­thy, in­clud­ing from former Eng­land cap­tain Alan Shearer.

“Don’t give me, ‘It’s the law’ non­sense. Mike Dean has clearly never ex­pe­ri­enced scor­ing the win­ning goal,” Shearer said on Twitter. “And for all say­ing ‘But it is the law’, if we are go­ing to rigidly ap­ply law with no com­mon sense, why did he only book Ster­ling?”

City had fallen be­hind to a stu­pen­dous early goal by Char­lie Daniels but equalised through Gabriel Je­sus, be­fore snatch­ing their sec­ond win of the sea­son at the death.

“Win­ning in the last minute is al­ways spe­cial. It was a tough game. It is al­ways com­pli­cated against Bournemouth,” Guardi­ola said. “They play long balls, balls into the chan­nels and play set-pieces but we got into the game.”

Bournemouth have now lost all three league games this sea­son. – Reuters

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