Wednesday 22 November 2017

Stewards in the spotlight as melee mars City victory

Manchester City's Sergio Aguero and Benjamin Mendy with Police after Raheem Sterling celebrates scoring their second goal. Photo: Dylan Martinez/Reuters
Manchester City's Sergio Aguero and Benjamin Mendy with Police after Raheem Sterling celebrates scoring their second goal. Photo: Dylan Martinez/Reuters

Jeremy Wilson

Bournemouth are expected to remind their stewards about best practice following the ugly melee that accompanied Manchester City's dramatic winner on Saturday amid the launch of a police appeal for further witnesses and footage.

Two fans from Manchester were arrested for encroaching on the pitch, but there has also been anger at the perceived overzealous reaction of stewards, police and referee Mike Dean.

City striker Sergio Agüero intervened in an apparent attempt to defuse the situation as a fan was pinned to the ground by stewards and was then the subject of a steward's claim that he had been struck. This allegation was withdrawn just a few hours later.

The footage that has emerged appeared to show Agüero simply pleading with stewards and police to ease off on the fan.

Manchester City's Sergio Aguero (left) and AFC Bournemouth's Dan Gosling in action during the match at the Vitality Stadium. Photo: Steven Paston/PA
Manchester City's Sergio Aguero (left) and AFC Bournemouth's Dan Gosling in action during the match at the Vitality Stadium. Photo: Steven Paston/PA

City were also angry over the referee's decision to show Raheem Sterling a second yellow card for celebrating in front of the City fans after scoring his 97th-minute winner.

Appeal

Sterling did not appear to leave the grassed area as fans came onto the pitch to celebrate but City cannot appeal what was the first red card of his career as it was the result of two yellow cards.

Charlie Daniels had earlier put Bournemouth into the lead before Gabriel Jesus equalised.

For all their investment this summer, this was the second successive game in which Sterling scored City's crucial goal.

"He is a guy who can play in the middle, has the ability to go one against one, to attack, to be aggressive," reflected City boss Pep Guardiola. "If he would be a guy who had a bit more sense of the goal, he would be one of the most incredible players."

Bournemouth's Josh King in action against Manchester City's Vincent Kompany and Nicolas Otamendi. Photo: Tony O'Brien/Reuters
Bournemouth's Josh King in action against Manchester City's Vincent Kompany and Nicolas Otamendi. Photo: Tony O'Brien/Reuters

Guardiola expects Sterling to play centrally more often following the acquisitions of attacking full-backs in Kyle Walker, Benjamin Mendy and Danilo.

"The guy who has talent can score the goal," the Spaniard added. "I don't think I can improve him. Maybe he will have to find another manager."

Bournemouth remain pointless but did match City for long periods.

An improvement in attitude, said manager Eddie Howe, was more important than the tactical switch to a three-man defence.

"Ability is one thing but it's all about the basics of hard work and fighting for each other and making sure we are united as a team," said Howe.

"Sometimes, believe it or not, players do need reminding of those basics. I'm excited by what we can achieve this season despite the fact that we haven't got a point yet. The lads need to believe the same." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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