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English Premiership

Sterling rescue act spares 10-man Man City

Raheem Sterling shoots to score Manchester City’s equaliser against Everton in an English Premier League match on August 21, 2017. PHOTO/Daily Mail

MANCHESTER, United Kingdom, Aug 22- Raheem Sterling came on to score an 82nd-minute equaliser as 10-man Manchester City rescued a 1-1 draw against Everton in their opening Premier League home game on Monday.

Wayne Rooney put Everton ahead with his 200th Premier League goal before City home debutant Kyle Walker was contentiously shown a second yellow card following a collision with Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

Sterling, a half-time substitute, rewarded heavy City pressure by slamming in a late equaliser and Everton also finished with 10 men after Morgan Schneiderlin, too, was given a debatable second caution.

City preserved their record of never having lost their first home Premier League game, but the main upshot was that Manchester United, Huddersfield Town and West Bromwich Albion now boast the only 100 percent records in the league.

While City manager Pep Guardiola was unable to avenge the 4-0 defeat masterminded by his old Barcelona team-mate Ronald Koeman in January’s meeting between the teams, his side’s spirit will have pleased him.

For Everton manager Koeman, who gave a second-half debut to record £45 million ($57.9 million, 49.3 million euros) recruit Gylfi Sigurdsson, this was a sign that his side could now be genuine contenders for a Champions League place.

City made one change from their 2-0 win at Brighton and Hove Albion, Leroy Sane replacing Danilo at left wing-back, and with Everton content to sit back and absorb pressure, the hosts took the game to them.

Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford was obliged to parry a rasping Nicolas Otamendi drive and Sergio Aguero teed up David Silva to crash a low shot against the left-hand post.

But the pace of Calvert-Lewin made Everton a constant threat on the break and shortly after Silva had rattled the woodwork, they went ahead in the 35th minute.

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– Rooney milestone –

Everton’s striker Wayne Rooney celebrates scoring on August 21, 2017

Sane’s under-hit pass let in Calvert-Lewin and he skipped past Fernandinho before crossing for Rooney, who stroked the ball between Ederson’s legs before provocatively cupping his ears in celebration.

Rooney, jeered throughout due to his Manchester United connections, becomes the second player to score 200 goals in the post-1992 Premier League era after Alan Shearer, who netted 260 for Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United.

It was a sucker-punch for City and worse was to come when Walker, who had just been booked for sliding in on Leighton Baines, was questionably shown a second yellow card by referee Robert Madley for backing into Calvert-Lewin.

Guardiola introduced Sterling in place of Gabriel Jesus at half-time and the former Liverpool man led the charge for an equaliser.

He twice shot over the bar, the second time from an excellent position, but after fellow substitute Danilo had been denied by Pickford, he netted the leveller.

Everton right-back Mason Holgate was unable to get decent purchase on a headed clearance from Danilo’s cross and the ball fell kindly for Sterling to lash an emphatic volley into the bottom-left corner from 15 yards.

In the last act of a frenetic game, Schneiderlin was harshly shown a second yellow card after sliding in on Aguero.

The French midfielder showed his displeasure with Aguero’s theatrical reaction by wagging his finger in his face as he went off.

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