LONDON, Aug 26 (Reuters) - 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 well-known 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. (Reporting by Martyn Herman,; Editing by Neville Dalton)