For the first 96 minutes, it looked like Manchester City were set to get another draw in the Premier League. A frustrating afternoon for the Blues against AFC Bournemouth turned into a happy day thanks to a 97th minute winner for Raheem Sterling. City were favorites to win this match before it started, and they did get the victory. But it was far from easy, and the Blues can call themselves lucky to escape the Vitality Stadium with all three points.
The game started with Bournemouth going at the City defense, pressuring high up the pitch and trying to stop the Blues from having possession. The two strikers Jermain Defoe and Joshua King constantly ran in behind the center-backs and created some dangerous situations early in the game, and that pressure worked for the Cherries.
Charlie Daniels put Bournemouth in front when a cross was cleared by Vincent Kompany into the edge of the box, and Daniels took a first time shot and fired a rocket into the crossbar and into the net to score an incredible opening goal. Five minutes after the goal Bournemouth had a very good chance with a volley from Defoe, but Éderson made a great save to keep the deficit at one goal.
After 20 great minutes for the hosts, the Blues finally woke up and began to dominate possession and camp themselves inside Bournemouth’s half.
Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva were the stars of the half, constantly linking up with each other in midfield and finding Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus to create scoring chances. One of those instances got the Blues a goal when David Silva played a gorgeous pass through the middle to Jesus, who calmly slotted the ball away from Asmir Begovic into the bottom corner.
After they got the equalizer the Blues really took control of proceedings, dominating possession and even more and using quick passing to open spaces inside the Cherries’ back five. Fernandinho had the best chance to put City in front near the end of the half, but Begovic made a great double save to keep Bournemouth in the game.
At halftime, a very entertaining match with goals and chances for both sides, and a promise of a fantastic final period.
The second half wasn’t nearly as entertaining as the first, and it featured City having all of the possession but failing to break down a stubborn Bournemouth defense. The Cherries were organized without the ball and fast on the counter with it, and the theme of the final period was a City team lacking creativity against a Bournemouth side waiting for the right moment to strike.
The Cherries nearly got the win when Josh King hit the post with a gorgeous left foot strike, and City really got away with murder in that situation because Fernandinho lost an easy ball to Harry Arter and the Brazilian could have cost the Blues a point.
Pep Guardiola put Sergio Agüero and Leroy Sané on the pitch to try and find a winner, but the two substitutes couldn’t affect the match in a positive way. City continued to have the ball and lack creativity, and the only chances came with weak shots from Fernandinho and Agüero that went straight to Begovic’s arms.
It looked like the game was set to end in a disappointing draw for City, but they somehow found a way to get all three points. A great passing sequence from the Blues eventually came to Danilo on the right flank, and the Brazilian played a smart low cross to Raheem Sterling, who controlled the ball and found the back of the net with a shot that deflected off a Bournemouth defender and went in to give City the victory.
Sterling was sent off after the goal for celebrating with the away fans in the stands and getting a second yellow, and Raheem will miss the game against Liverpool after the international break. That doesn’t matter right now, though. Let’s just celebrate a vital win that could mean a lot at the end of the season.
Bournemouth: Begovic; Smith, Cook, Aké, Mings, Daniels; Gosling, Surman, Arter; Defoe (Afobe (Mousset)), King
Goal: Daniels (13’)
Man City: Éderson; Danilo, Kompany, Otamendi, Mendy; Silva (Stones), Fernandinho, De Bruyne; Bernardo (Agüero), G.Jesus (Sané), Sterling
Goals: Gabriel Jesus (21’), Sterling (97’)