MADRID — On an evening when Atletico Madrid attempted the entirety to make Manchester City lose their heads, Pep Guardiola’s gamers confirmed they have got the metal in addition to the silk to win the Champions League.
By the top, it used to be the house facet who misplaced their cool when Brazilian defender Felipe used to be despatched off within the aftermath of a disagreement within the nook that concerned many of the 22 gamers and backroom group of workers from each benches.
That Atletico’s frustration ultimately boiled over used to be credit score to the best way Man City controlled a clumsy tie amid the mayhem to see out the sport 0-0 and hang the combination at 1-0, putting in a semifinal with Real Madrid later this month. It wasn’t lovely, nevertheless it does not all the time should be.
The evening ended after greater than 13 mins of stoppage time with Guardiola being pelted through bottles as he left the pitch and with police pulling aside gamers from all sides within the tunnel after Stefan Savic had raced after Jack Grealish. If City can come via this, they are able to get via the rest.
“Nothing to say,” stated Guardiola afterwards when requested in regards to the melee at the pitch and within the tunnel. “It’s always difficult with these people in this stadium. “It’s a large praise for the gamers. We gave the entirety. We need to are living these types of scenarios. We suffered.
“We can’t expect that we’re going to make everything marvelous against the champions of Spain. The opponent was really, really good.”
Backed through fierce toughen throughout the Wanda Metropolitano, Atletico set out their plan to actually knock City out in their rhythm as early as the primary minute. At the Etihad final week, they did not glance willing to interact with City’s blue shirts a lot past the threshold of their very own penalty house however at house they discovered an entire different part to play in.
Savic temporarily got here charging out of defence to thunder into the again of Ilkay Gundogan within the centre circle, and Kyle Walker used to be compelled right into a slip after Diego Simeone had roared his gamers ahead from his technical house.
If Simeone had requested earlier than kick-off for extra aggression, Felipe took it too actually. Not content material with clattering into Phil Foden with sufficient drive to go away the 21-year-old bloodied and bandaged, Felipe adopted it up through swiping away the legs of Kevin De Bruyne.
Foden were given the tough stuff once more when Savic needlessly barged into his facet because the ball rolled out of play for a throw in. Savic as opposed to Foden used to be a operating struggle that carried on all night.
Mixed in had been moments of calm when it could had been simple for City to fold. Riyad Mahrez used to be cool sufficient to knock the ball round Joao Felix in his personal penalty house earlier than the Portuguese ahead raced against Ederson just for the goalkeeper to drill a pinpoint move via Atletico’s midfield and into Gundogan’s toes.
In the previous, City had been responsible of permitting Champions League knockout ties to descend into chaos, coming off second-best towards Monaco in 2017, Liverpool in 2018, Tottenham in 2019 and Lyon in 2020. There had been spells on Wednesday, in particular in the second one part, when it gave the look of the sport would veer that method however this can be a City group who glance a ways higher for the studies of the ones harrowing exits.
Man City defended doggedly after they needed to — John Stones made an important block from Matheus Cunha after 87 mins and Ederson stored low from Angel Correa deep into stoppage time. In the top, it used to be the decided blank sheet slightly than any in their standard champagne soccer that despatched them via to a moment successive semifinal and only a 3rd within the membership’s historical past.
“It is the champion of Spain and they played with energy and in the second half were better than us and we were lucky we didn’t concede,” Guardiola added. “In the first half, we had chances.
“Overall we’re within the semifinals — it’s neatly deserved. The opponent is so tricky, all of the groups within the Champions League come right here and endure so it’s important we undergo.
“We cannot play all the time and score four or five goals. We are human beings, we come from a difficult game against Liverpool. We celebrate because it is the third time in Manchester City’s history we are in the Champions League semifinals.”
It assists in keeping City not off course for a treble of the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup, even though the conflict with Atletico got here at a value after accidents to De Bruyne and Walker. Both had been compelled off in the second one part forward of the FA Cup semifinal with Liverpool at Wembley on Saturday.
A couple of extra usually are nursing knocks after a bruising come upon however at a level of the contest when City have fallen brief earlier than, this time they proved as much as the check. They have had some spectacular Champions League performances underneath Guardiola and this used to be some other — only for other causes.