11:30 p.m. BST
Rob Dawson, correspondent
MADRID – One night, when Atletico Madrid tried everything to make Manchester City lose their heads, Pep Guardiola’s players showed that they have the steel as well as the silk to win the Champions League.
In the end, the hosts lost their temper when Brazilian defender Felipe was sent off after a collision in the corner, which involved most of the 22 players and the backstage staff from both benches.
Atletico’s disappointment was ultimately due to the way Man City managed to draw an awkward draw amid the chaos to see the match 0-0 and keep the total at 1-0, creating a semi-final with Real Madrid. later this month. It wasn’t beautiful, but it doesn’t always have to be.
The evening ended with a break of more than 13 minutes, with Guardiola being hit by bottles as he left the pitch and by police tearing players on both sides of the tunnel after Stefan Savic competed after Jack Grilish. If City can go through that, they can go through anything.
“I have nothing to say,” Guardiola said afterwards when asked about the melee on the field and in the tunnel. “It’s always difficult with these people in this stadium. “It’s a great compliment for the players. We gave everything. We must live in such situations. We suffered.
“We can’t expect to do everything great against the Spanish champions. The opponent was really, really good.”
Supported by fierce support at Wanda Metropolitano, Atletico outlined their plan to literally get City out of their rhythm in the first minute. At the Etihad last week, they didn’t seem willing to commit to City’s blue jerseys far beyond their own penalty area, but at home they suddenly found a completely different half-time to play.
Savic quickly stormed out of the defense to blow Ilkay Gundogan’s back in the center circle, and Kyle Walker was forced to slip after Diego Simeone shot his players ahead of his technical space.
If Simeone had asked for more aggression before the start, Felipe took it too literally. Not content with a crash in Phil Foden with enough force to leave the 21-year-old bloodied and bandaged, Felipe followed him, swinging Kevin De Bruyne’s legs.
Foden got the rough thing again when Savich unnecessarily invaded his side as the ball rolled out of the throw-in. Savik against Foden was an ongoing battle that lasted all night.
The quarter-final match of the Champions League was sharp and a match broke out towards the end, but Manchester City faced the destructive tactics of Atletico Madrid. Sean Boteril / Getty Images
There were mixed moments of calm when it would be easy for City to give up. Riyad Marez was cool enough to kill the ball around Joao Felix in his own penalty area before the Portuguese striker rushed to Ederson just for the goalkeeper to break an accurate pass through Atletico’s midfield and at Gundogan’s feet.
In the past, City have been guilty of allowing Champions League elimination matches to run into chaos, finishing second against Monaco in 2017, Liverpool in 2018, Tottenham in 2019 and Lyon in 2020. There have been periods in Wednesday, especially in the second half, when it seemed that the game would deviate in this way, but this is a City team that looks much better for the experience of these painful outcomes.
Man City defended hard when they had to – John Stones made an important block from Matthew Cunha after 87 minutes, and Ederson saved low from Angel Korea deep in added time. In the end, the decisive goal, and not any of their usual champagne football, sent them to the second consecutive semifinal and only the third in the history of the club.
The beautiful game lives here. Broadcast the best leagues, tournaments and teams.Sign up for ESPN +
FRIDAY, APRIL 15• Luton v Forrest (7:25 pm ET) • Bournemouth v Boro (9:55 am ET) • Birmingham v Coventry (9:55 pm ET) • Huddersfield vs. QPR (12:25 pm ET) • Sociedad vs. Betis (2:50 pm ET) • Derby vs. Fulham (14:55 pm ET)
“This is the champion of Spain and they played vigorously, and in the second half they were better than us and we were lucky not to allow,” added Guardiola. “In the first half we had a chance.
“In general, we are in the semifinals – it is well deserved. The opponent is so difficult, all the teams in the Champions League come here and suffer, so it is important to pass.
“We can’t play all the time and score four or five goals. We are human, we come from a difficult match against Liverpool. We are celebrating because for the third time in the history of Manchester City we are in the semi-finals of the Champions League.”
That kept City on a triple for the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup, although the clash with Atletico came at a price after injuries to De Bruyne and Walker. Both were eliminated in the second half before the FA Cup semi-final with Liverpool at Wembley on Saturday.
It is likely that several more will suffer blows after a collision with bruises, but at the stage of the race, when City failed before, this time they were put to the test. They had several impressive appearances in the Champions League under Guardiola and that was different – just for different reasons.