Wayne Rooney scored a landmark 200th Premier League goal but it proved not enough to secure a memorable win at the Etihad.
On his return to the city where he plied his trade for 13 years, the England captain celebrated another landmark in his stellar career, only to leave frustrated as Raheem Sterling struck late earn his side a share of the spoils.
Both teams ended the match with 10 men after both Kyle Walker and Morgan Schneiderlin were sent off, both for picking up a pair of yellow cards.
Despite the Frenchman’s early bath, it was a performance full of discipline from Everton, just as Ronald Koeman had demanded. The Blues dug in to repel a peppering in the opening half-hour, took the lead in clinical fashion and can count themselves unfortunate to have let slip two points.
With three matches in the space of six days - all away from home - it was no surprise Koeman rang the changes, even after the dominant 2-0 win in the first leg of the Europa League play-off with Hajduk Split.
In his pre-match interview, the Everton manager admitted that such a demanding week could not be fulfilled with “just 11 players”.
Sigurdsson, having had no competitive match action since May, took up a place on the bench following his club-record move from Swansea City a week earlier. But into the team came captain Phil Jagielka, Tom Davies and Mason Holgate, as did Dominic Calvert-Lewin as Koeman revealed he’d selected the former Sheffield United man in attack to try and exploit City’s customary high defensive line.
That tactic was evident from the outset and the Toffees’ first attack indeed stemmed from ball down the right channel which Calvert-Lewin raced onto before flashing a well-struck effort narrowly past the post.
Jordan Pickford went into the contest on the back of three successive clean sheets - and he made a steady start by making two saves, albeit routine, from Nicolas Otamendi and a Rooney miscued clearance which indadvertedly crept towards his own goal. There were also early efforts from Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus that Pickford had to be alert to, although both sailed over the bar without troubling the former Sunderland keeper.
In a busy opening for Pickford, the summer signing also showed what he was capable of with his distribution. Having comfortably clutched a shot from Kevin de Bruyne, he had no hesitation in launching a pinpoint 50-yard volleyed pass to Calvert-Lewin as a dangerous counter-attack ended with Davies dragging a long-range effort wide.
City, as expected, dominated possession and continued to rain in the shots at Pickford, who remained defiant. Arguably his best save in the opening half was a low stop to deny Otamendi for a second time, with Jagielka doing well to clear under his own bar after Aguero recycled play.
Even when Pickford was beaten, City couldn’t force a breakthroughin the first 45 minutes - David Silva escaped in the area but his left-foot strike cannoned back off the post.
Such are the margins in football. Less than a minute later, Everton took the lead - with the help of the woodwork.
The mightily impressive Calvert-Lewin, who had to that point worked tirelessly, laid the ball on a plate for Rooney to net the winner against Stoke on the opening day of the season - and he did the same for the England man’s landmark 200th Premier League goal in the 35th minute of this encounter.
Holgate fed Calvert-Lewin who displayed intelligence to check back and pick out Rooney. A first-time shot through the legs of Ederson, off the inside off the post and Everton held the advantage. Only Alan Shearer stands above Rooney in the scoring charts.
City lost their discipline after falling behind. Moments before the break, they were reduced to 10 men as Walker paid the penalty for receiving two yellow cards in a matter of minutes. A foul on Baines and a collision with Calvert-Lewin, and the England right-back was dispatched for an early shower.
That prompted a rethink from Pep Guardiola at the interval. With a numerical disadvantage, the Spaniard replaced Gabriel Jesus with Sterling.
Ten minutes into the second half and the travelling Evertonians, 3,000 of them in total, got their first glimpse of new Blue Sigurdsson. He was part of a double change which also saw Davy Klaassen step off the bench as Koeman opted for a change in system - switching back to a conventional 4-2-2 - and a freshness in attack.
Sigurdsson displayed glimpses of his passing ability during his second-half cameo, including a dangerously whipped free-kick which Rooney planted straight at Ederson 12 minutes from time.
City, despite their numerical disadvantage continued to create chances but they encountered a stubborn Everton defence. A shot from distance by Sterling flew over the bar and even when they broke through, Pickford again pulled off a great stop to push away an arrowing low shot from Danilo.
Seven minutes from time, the hosts found an equaliser as Sterling drilled a volley into the bottom corner, past Pickford’s valiant dive.
Heartbreaking for Everton but they maintained their defensive resilience to at least earn a point. It could have been much more, but there is little time to dwell - the Blues have a trip to Croatia in a matter of days…