Koke ‘proud’ how Atletico Madrid played vs Man City in Champions League exit | Football News

Atletico Madrid captain Koke defended his side’s ill-tempered antics during their Champions League exit to Manchester City – though did hit out at alleged time-wasting from Pep Guardiola’s side.

City progressed through to the Champions League semi-finals thanks to a 0-0 second-leg draw at the Wanda Metropolitano – to go through 1-0 on aggregate – in a resolute defensive display despite chaos emerging at the end of the tie.

At the start of nine additional minutes of second-half stoppage time, both sets of players were involved in a mass scuffle after Felipe fouled Phil Foden near the byline. Stefan Savic tried to pick the injured Foden up off the floor, which caused the scuffle, while the ex-City defender was also seen trying to headbutt Raheem Sterling and pulled Jack Grealish’s hair.

Felipe, meanwhile, was shown a second yellow card for his tackle on Foden and role in the scuffle, but midfielder Koke claims City’s time-wasting antics allowed Atleti players to become frustrated.

“The match takes you to that madness when you see that you have chances and they drop to the ground and waste time,” the Atleti captain said in a post-match interview.

Tempers boiled over late on at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium
Tempers boiled over late on at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium

“Many times we have been criticized for this situation, but today it was them. Let’s see what people think of this. Today it has been seen, we are Atletico de Madrid and I am proud of this team.

“I’m proud of my team-mates for the effort. I have nothing to reproach the team with. I’m proud of everyone and the fans, who have lost, stayed to applaud us after the game. This is Atletico.”

Athletes had very few chances to get back level in the tie, with Ederson called into action only once in the Wanda Metropolitano leg. The Brazilian goalkeeper was forced into a crucial stop against Angel Correa in the 102nd minute, in what was one of the final kicks of the match.

Felipe was sent off for Atletico Madrid against Manchester City
Felipe was sent off for Atletico Madrid against Manchester City

City, meanwhile, had only one major chance to extend their aggregate advantage when Ilkay Gundogan headed onto the post in the first half, with Pep Guardiola’s side defending for most of the second half.

Stones: Proud we kept our temper

Manchester City defender John Stones, meanwhile, admitted the mass brawl at the end of the game is “not nice to talk about” but hailed his side’s reaction to Atleti’s actions.

“We know they sometimes try and make things happen like that and I think we dealt with it really well,” Stones said after the match. “It’s not nice to talk about that. I do not want to dwell on that because over two legs we played incredible against such an experienced team in what they do.

“I’m so proud of the lads of how we controlled our tempers. It’s so easy to get drawn into stuff like that. So happy to be through and a great night.

Man City players celebrate their achievement of qualifying

“We definitely knew it’s not an easy place to come. It’s my first time here and it’s a hostile environment. It was a difficult night all round but how we defended and how we controlled ourselves was incredible.”

Stones also addressed claims that Foden, who was the victim for both of Felipe’s yellow card offenses, was targeted by Atleti’s players – but could only praise the young England international for his efforts over the two legs.

“[They started] early doors, “said Stones about Atleti’s treatment of Foden.” Phil was such a threat in both games, especially when he came on in the first time, an instant impact.

“Then in this game, he drove us up the pitch and gained us yards. He was outstanding, he’s feeling it after the game now.”

Phil Foden was on the receiving end of some robust treatment in Manchester City & # 39 ;s game away to Atletico Madrid
Phil Foden was on the receiving end of some robust treatment in Manchester City’s game away to Atletico Madrid

Guardiola: We were in big trouble with injuries

City boss Guardiola, meanwhile, admitted his side struggled during the second half of Wednesday night’s match, especially after losing two key players to injury.

The visitors saw Kevin de Bruyne come off and receive treatment just moments before Kyle Walker hobbled off after clashing with Renan Lodi.

City have a FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool on Saturday and the injury blows to both players may not put them in good stead for that Wembley encounter.

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Man City manager Pep Guardiola believes advancing to the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League is an incredible achievement

“We were in big trouble [with injuries], “said Guardiola.” We can not forget that we played three days ago. To play Liverpool, travel, come here is difficult.

“I do not know what will happen in the next few weeks. Today we will celebrate because it’s only the third time City have reached the semi-finals of the Champions League.

“In the second half, they [Atleti] were better than us. The first half we had the chances to do it but overall we are in the semi-finals. It’s well deserved over the two games.

“The opponent is so tough. All the teams in the Champions League who come here find it tough. We concede very few goals but in the second half they were better. In the 180 minutes, the last 25 minutes they were better.”