Premier League: Ten-man Man City beat Nottingham Forest despite Rodri red card
Leaders Manchester City were forced to hang on to beat Nottingham Forest after Rodri’s red card but still maintained their perfect start to the Premier League season.
City were cruising at the break thanks to early goals by Phil Foden and Erling Haaland but the game changed dramatically only 27 seconds after the restart.
Rodri was shown a straight red for violent conduct after putting his hands around Morgan Gibbs-White’s throat as they tangled near the corner flag, with VAR upholding referee Anthony Taylor’s decision.
Forest had been outplayed until that point, with City slicing them open with sparkling attacks down the right to score both their goals inside the first 15 minutes.
Kyle Walker set up Foden to fire home City’s opener with a fine first-time finish, before Matheus Nunes crossed from the same flank for an unmarked Haaland to head home.
The second half was a different story, however, with City having to dig in to protect their lead – and they mostly succeeded in keeping Forest at arms’ length.
Clear chances for the visitors remained few and far between, with Orel Mangala scooping one shot over and Taiwo Awoniyi off target from close range, before Ederson denied Anthony Elanga late on.
Tempers continued to boil over in the closing minutes, with City manager Pep Guardiola and the home fans unhappy with more of Taylor’s decisions, but City still held out to make it six wins out of six.
With the rest of the top four playing on Sunday the defending champions are now five points clear at the top of the table.
A rare red card for Rodri could prove to be a costly one
Rodri’s first red card in the Premier League came after a moment of madness that was completely out of character for the 27-year-old Spain international, who has been a cornerstone of City’s midfield for most of the past four seasons.
Gibbs-White waited before throwing himself to the ground theatrically after they had clashed but, regardless of his reaction, Rodri deserved his fate for raising his hands and grabbing him around the neck.
His dismissal made City’s task much harder on the day, and also means his side will be without him for the forthcoming matches against Wolves, Arsenal and Brighton.
It is against the Gunners, who pushed City so close in last season’s title race, where his absence will be felt the most.
Rodri was not the only City player to lose his cool against Forest, with Ederson also angrily butting heads with Awoniyi after they had tangled in the box.
Guardiola also appeared angry with any decision that went against City in the second half, and the mood inside the Etihad made for a tense finish to a game City appeared to have sewn up early on.
Forest fail to make their extra man count
Forest had not even strung a pass together when they fell behind to Foden’s goal, and they did not see much of the ball during the rest of the first half either.
They were handed an unlikely lifeline by Rodri’s red card but, even with an extra man, found it difficult to put City under meaningful pressure.
Some of Forest’s caution with the ball was understandable, because of the threat City still posed on the break, but it meant they rarely looked like finding a way back into the game.
It was only in the closing minutes when they really threw men forward, and even then their best efforts were still from outside the box.
Elanga came closest to reducing the deficit with his angled first-time drive after he found space on the edge of the area but Ederson was equal to it.