Rooney, back at the club he grew up with, pounced on a 35th-minute chance to put Everton into the lead. And after Walker was sent off within two minutes of halftime for back-to-back extremely soft yellows, the English striker’s 200th Premier League tally seemed like it might be enough for all three points. Pep Guardiola fumed. The Etihad crowd whistled and howled.
But City’s fury translated to second-half dominance, even with 10 men, and the dominance eventually paid off. Raheem Sterling struck an 82nd-minute volley directly into the bottom corner to salvage a point.
Morgan Schneiderlin’s late red card reduced Everton to 10 men as well, and Ronald Koeman’s side fretted through a nervy final few minutes. But the visitors held out for a draw.
City mostly had itself to blame for its early deficit. Moments after David Silva hit the near post with a close-range effort on one end, John Stones and the Citizens’ defense fell asleep at the other.
That left them to rue Rooney’s brilliance. Skeptics rolled their eyes at Rooney’s move to Everton, placing Over the hill and Past his prime labels on the former Manchester United forward. But Rooney’s finishing ability can rival that of anybody in the world. It was on display last week against Stoke, and resurfaced again on Monday.
Sitting on 199 Premier League goals, and with Sir Alex Ferguson, Jose Mourinho and England boss Gareth Southgate watching on, Rooney burst into the box and side-footed No. 200 past Ederson. He became the second player to hit the two-century mark, after Alan Shearer, who finished his Premier League career with 260. Of Rooney’s 200, 173 came for United. His two goals this seasons were his 16th and 17th for Everton. The 17th gave Everton a surprise lead against the Premier League favorites.
City had the better chances with 11 men, and remained on top after going down to 10. But Sergio Aguero lacked Rooney’s killer instinct when he was played in by Kevin De Bruyne on 30 minutes. It was a glorious chance, but Aguero hesitated as he bore down on Everton keeper Jordan Pickford, and couldn’t get a clean shot off. De Bruyne flailed his arms in disgust.
After Silva’s narrow miss minutes later, and after Rooney silenced the Etihad, the red card felt like a game-changer.
Walker picked up his first yellow in the 42nd minute after going into a 50/50 challenge with Leighton Baines. He lost the challenge — Baines was first to ball — but didn’t appear to catch Baines with any significant force. Nonetheless, Baines spun and reached for his leg, and out came the yellow.
Less than two minutes later, the English fullback backpedalled into Dominic Calvert-Lewin as the two prepared to contest a header. Walker didn’t appear to do anything out of the ordinary, other than peek back at Calvert-Lewin, but he was shown a second yellow when the English youngster threw himself to the ground.
The sending off undoubtedly made City’s climb back into the game steeper, but it didn’t completely disrupt the hosts. Guardiola introduced Sterling for Gabriel Jesus at halftime. Before Sterling’s volley, he, Bernardo Silva and Danilo all had sights at goal, though only Danilo tested Pickford.
City, meanwhile, were remarkably secure at the back as they searched for an equalizer, and then a winner. The equalizer came. The winner never did.
But considering the circumstances, a draw was far from a disastrous result. For 60 minutes – 45 of them played with 10 men – the Citizens were impressive. The preseason title favorites looked like … well, the title favorites. No need to overreact to two dropped points.