MANCHESTER, Aug 22: Wayne Rooney wheeled away in delight after scoring his 200th goal in the English Premier League, cupping both of his ears with his hands in front of the Manchester City fans who jeered his name and his every touch.
The Everton striker had just joined an exclusive scoring club and, as a former Manchester United player, he was determined to enjoy the moment at Etihad Stadium. He didn’t have the last laugh, though.
Substitute Raheem Sterling smashed home an 82nd-minute volley as City fought back for a 1-1 draw at Etihad Stadium after playing with 10 men for more than a half of a chaotic game on Monday.
The late equalizer slightly soured another landmark occasion for Rooney, the record scorer for England and United — and now only the second player to reach a double-century of Premier League goals after Alan Shearer.
“It was a sweet moment,” he said, before adding with a smile: “I am sure the red half of Manchester will have enjoyed it as well.”
The 31-year-old Rooney is enjoying something of a career renaissance since leaving United in the offseason to return to his boyhood club. It’s now two goals in two league games for a player whose international career might not yet be over.
“It is not bad for someone who is not fit anymore and can’t get about the pitch,” Rooney said, taunting his critics. “I have always put a shift in for the team and tonight is no different.”
On his chances of a recall by England ahead of next month’s World Cup qualifiers, Rooney said: “I am focusing on Everton. I am sure I will speak to England manager Gareth Southgate over the next few days and we will see what happens.”
Rooney scored Everton’s goal against the run of play in the 35th minute, meeting Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s cross with a first-time shot that struck City goalkeeper Ederson Moraes’ heel and deflected into the net off the post.
City was already getting frustrated by its failure to pierce a deep-lying and compact Everton defense, and its chances of victory further receded in the 44th when right back Kyle Walker was sent off for a second yellow card in the space of two minutes. The second booking looked harsh, with Walker barely brushing Mason Holgate’s midriff with his elbow as he backed into the Everton full back.
City manager Pep Guardiola didn’t want to talk about the incident, except to say: “It was so clear.”
Sterling gave City energy after coming on as a halftime substitute. And after smashing a glaring opportunity over the bar from close range, he made amends by meeting Holgate’s poor headed clearance with a sweetly struck left-footed volley from just inside the area.
Everton also finished the game with 10 men when holding midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin was red-carded in the 88th for his second booking.
The draw left both teams on four points from two matches.
For City, there was delight in getting something out of the game after Walker’s dismissal on his home debut, but also a frustratingly familiar feeling to last season. They failed to convert a stream of opportunities until Sterling’s late intervention, and conceded from its first and only real chance given up.
The strike pairing of Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus didn’t appear to be on each other’s wavelength in the first half, and Jesus was substituted at halftime. Leroy Sane was uncomfortable at left wing back, giving the ball away before Rooney’s milestone goal.
Everton defended obdurately and in numbers, and almost made it five clean sheets in five competitive games this season.
Rooney was denied a second straight winner — he also scored in the 1-0 victory over Stoke last weekend — and was clearly frustrated at the end of the game, picking up a booking for dissent.
Now, the chase is on to catch Shearer, who finished his career on 260 Premier League goals.
“He is still that player that every manager needs in his team,” Everton manager Ronald Koeman said of Rooney. “He’s that teacher for young players.”-AP