Sport Soccer

Friday 23 February 2018

Joy at last-gasp winner led to Sterling red card, says Otamendi

Sergio Aguero, left, was initially accused of assaulting a steward at Bournemouth
Sergio Aguero, left, was initially accused of assaulting a steward at Bournemouth

Manchester City defender Nicolas Otamendi said the adrenaline rush of an injury-time winner led to jubilant celebrations which saw Raheem Sterling sent off and Sergio Aguero initially accused of assault.

Sterling hit a deflected last-gasp goal to seal a 2-1 victory over Bournemouth on Saturday, before picking up his second yellow card for celebrating with the visiting supporters in one corner of the Vitality Stadium.

City boss Pep Guardiola was left questioning Mike Dean's decision to send off the winger, who had also hit a late equaliser in Monday's draw at home to Everton.

Sterling will now miss the visit of former club Liverpool after the international break, but it was an incident surrounding team-mate Aguero which threatened to truly overshadow the victory.

A Bournemouth steward who claimed to have been assaulted by the striker withdrew his allegation later on Saturday following an initial statement to Dorset Police.

Aguero denied the allegation and City officials reviewed footage from a number of angles and said there was nothing to support the steward's claim, which was withdrawn due to a "misunderstanding".

Two City fans were arrested for encroaching on to the pitch as Otamendi explained the emotions boiled over following the dramatic conclusion to the contest.

"We felt the adrenaline in the air and sometimes it is difficult to control," he said.

"I don't think he (Sterling) came out of the pitch, it is more that the fans came to him, but it is difficult to control those situations, the referee made his decision and we have to accept it.

"There are always difficult games at the beginning of the Premier League.

"It is always important to get the three points. We gave everything we had until the last minute. There are always things to improve, but we have the next game to do that. All of the time we wanted to play and overall it was a good performance.

"We did well defensively and theirs was a good goal and we could do nothing about it."

Charlie Daniels gave Bournemouth the lead with a stunning strike before Gabriel Jesus levelled for the title favourites.

The galling defeat leaves Bournemouth without a point from their opening three Premier League games.

The performance pleased manager Eddie Howe when compared to the losses against West Brom and Watford and defender Tyrone Mings, who started his first league game of the campaign, believes there is plenty for the Cherries to take from the day.

"We have to look at the positives and look forward to the next game," he said.

"Maybe we have to be a little bit wiser sometimes. Perhaps we could have tried to go for the corner or tried to pin them in, but no matter how long the clock runs for we have to defend for that amount of time.

"It's difficult to take at the moment, but the fight we showed hasn't been there in the last couple of league games so that's the main thing we can take.

"We showed so much heart and fight, but it's disappointing to be sat on zero points instead of one. We have to get ourselves going again.

"We've got to maintain the fight we showed every day in training and make sure that, by the time the Arsenal game comes around, we're ready."

Press Association

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