Atlético 0-0 Manchester City (agg 0-1): City hold nerve in Madrid to go through
Wednesday, April 13, 2022
Manchester City held firm against Atlético at the Estadio Metropolitano to set up a UEFA Champions League semi-final with Real Madrid.
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Manchester City showed their character in a tough contest in Madrid to celebrate their 100th UEFA Champions League game by securing their place in the semi-finals at the expense of Atlético de Madrid.
30' Gündoğan hits the post
87' Stones makes vital block
90+1' Felipe is sent off
Match in brief: City survive late Atlético surge
It was the intense start Josep Guardiola had anticipated, as Diego Simeone's spirited Atlético pressed quickly from the first whistle, spurred on by the roar of the Estadio Metropolitano. However, as the game began to settle, it was City who logged the first chances, İlkay Gündoğan pinging a close-range effort off the post on the half-hour after John Stones had headed over and a Kevin De Bruyne volley was blocked by Reinildo Mandava.
Still chasing a one-goal deficit, a rejuvenated Atlético emerged in the second half to create several early opportunities, João Félix narrowly failing to connect with Renan Lodi's inviting delivery and Antoine Griezmann slicing wide from the edge of the area. Two decent chances for substitute Rodrigo De Paul followed, and as Atlético upped the ante, City dug deep as the final whistle approached.
Simeone's men went all in, and in an action-packed ending, Stones blocked Matheus Cunha's effort and Ederson saved from Ángel Correa to ensure City reached a second successive semi-final.
PlayStation® Player of the Match: John Stones (Manchester City)
"He was always alert to stop Atlético's direct threat and defended the box with huge efficiency. He was a vital player for City to keep a clean sheet."
UEFA Technical Observer panel
Graham Hunter, Atlético reporter
It wouldn't be Atlético if it weren't robust, opinion-dividing, dramatic, throaty and passionate. And so it's been this season. Just another Wednesday night at the Estadio Metropolitano. For all the opprobrium heaped on Simeone's tactics last week they made a mighty, magnificent City side sweat. Just like, notably, they went to Porto and won handsomely, outplayed Manchester United over two matches – Atleti being Atleti while their fans roar approval. Spain won't have three sides in the semi finals – some in Europe will miss this rambunctious, characterful and stubborn team. Their rivals won't.
Simon Hart, Manchester City reporter
All the talk after the first leg was about the black-clad coach and his team's defensive focus. Well, Guardiola turned up on the Metropolitano touchline in all black and his team are the ones heading to their UEFA Champions League semi-final on the back of four straight clean sheets. It wasn't pretty but it was never going to be. City controlled the first half tonight then held firm in the second, surviving a few late scares to book a return trip to Madrid to face Real in the semis.
John Stones, Manchester City defender: "We knew this is not an easy place to come to – it's my first time here, so I talked to the boys who have played here before. It was a difficult night all round and how we defended, over the two legs, was incredible."
Josep Guardiola, Manchester City manager: "In the second half, they were better than us and we were lucky that we didn't concede. Overall, though, we are in the semi-finals – and it's deserved."
Diego Simeone, Atlético coach: "I’m proud of what we’ve been able to do. Our fans were extraordinary, pushing the team on and then responding, in kind, by raising the noise still further once the team were close to winning. I’ve no doubt whatsoever that the fans will be proud of how we compete, that’s the key. However you do it, you compete. The only thing to emphasise is that we didn’t win – and that’s all that truly counts."
Koke, Atlético captain: "I'm proud of my team-mates and all of our fans. We had so much desire and hunger in order to achieve what we've done so far in this competition and now we can be proud of what we tried to achieve here, but we couldn't quite reach the semi-finals."
Joleon Lescott, BT Sport
"Every man, to his name, defended for the cause, put their bodies on their line and blocked shots and crosses. City deserve credit for the way they defended tonight."
- This was Manchester City's 100th game in the UEFA Champions League (group stage to final). In the period since they made their competition debut in 2011/12, only three clubs have played more games: Real Madrid, Bayern and Barcelona.
- Josep Guardiola has now reached nine European Cup semi-finals – the most of any manager in the history of the competition.
- Manchester City have lost only three of their last 18 matches in the knockout phase of the UEFA Champions League (W13 D2).
- Manchester City have kept a clean sheet in each of their four UEFA Champions League knockout phase matches this season.
- Atlético have won only three of their 13 matches in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League (D4 L6).
- Atlético have conceded only two goals in their last 14 UEFA Champions League knockout phase matches in their own stadium.
Fantasy star performers
John Stones – 10
Kyle Walker – 9
Reinildo – 9
Atlético: Oblak; Savić, Felipe, Reinildo; Marcos Llorente, Koke (De Paul 69), Kondogbia, Lemar (Suárez 82), Renan Lodi (Correa 69); Griezmann (Carrasco 69), João Félix (Cunha 82)
Manchester City: Ederson; Walker (Aké 73), Stones, Laporte, João Cancelo; De Bruyne (Sterling 65), Rodri, Gündoğan; Mahrez, Foden, Bernardo Silva (Fernandinho 79)
Manchester City will face Real Madrid in the semi-finals. The first leg will take place in Manchester on 26 April, with the second leg at Estadio Santiago Bernabéu on 4 May.