Manchester City secured their place in the Champions League semi-finals after fending off Atletico Madrid’s physical approach to secure a 0-0 draw at the Wanda Metropolitano
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City stood up in the face of intense hostilities at the Wanda Metropolitano to earn a 0-0 draw in which they advanced 1-0 on aggregate.
The closing stages were overshadowed by ugly scenes on the pitch, with both teams ending in a bust.
The climax came in the final minutes when Phil Foden, holding up a punch from Diego Simeone’s side, rolled back onto the pitch after a foul by Felipe Luis. Stefan Savic grabbed Foden by the collar of his shirt, triggering a hand-to-hand fight involving all 22 players plus players from the bench.
Savic was then spotted pulling Jack Grealish’s hair but somehow avoided a red card despite committing several indiscretions. Felipe saw red but City still had to endure more than 10 minutes of pressure in added time to seal their place in the semi-finals where they will score real Madrid. Hostility continued after the full-time whistle, with police being coerced intervene in fights in the tunnel.
Atletico have been heavily criticized for their actions but Koke accused City of shenanigans, saying they were “driven insane” by the English champions. “I don’t know what happened because I was sitting on the bench and he caught me in the other corner. Football situations,” he said of the red card.
“The game gets you in this madness when you see that you have chances and they throw themselves down and lose time. They often criticize us for that and let’s see what people think about it today.”
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Pressured by City, which he felt was a waste of time, Koke added: “Today you saw it. We’re often Atlético who are criticized and today we’re proud of what the team has achieved.
“We wanted to go to the semifinals, we’re injured but proud of it Champions League and we will never stop believing. Now we are concentrating on LaLiga to get to the Champions League.”
John Stones was one of many City heroes to be seen in the Spanish capital and admitted it wasn’t pretty to focus on Atleti’s extracurricular activities. “We know that sometimes they try to make things happen that way. I thought we handled it really well,” he told BT Sport.
“It’s not nice to talk about it, I don’t want to go into too much detail because I think we played incredibly well over two legs against such an experienced team in what they do in such a low block.
“I’m so proud of the lads today, how we kept our control and our temper. So easy to get sucked in, so happy to pull through, great night.”
The England defender added: “We knew it wasn’t easy, it’s my first time. hostile environment. From talking to guys who have been here before and who know their players and how they play, it was a difficult evening all round. I think how we defended, how we controlled ourselves on two legs was incredible.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/atletico-madrid-man-city-fight-26708665 Atletico Madrid star Koke is "proud" of antics and claims Man City drove them insane