Atletico Madrid had it all to do at home. Having had no shots on target in the first leg, Manchester City held the advantage. Diego Simeone knew he had to be more adventurous to stay alive in the tie.
It was an even start to the game. The most notable piece of the action in the opening 20 minutes was Felipe going in hard on Phil Foden. It required the Englishman’s head to be bandaged with the big defender somehow escaping caution.
We reach the first 15'. Come on Atleti! 👊 pic.twitter.com/l6PMJ96KIW
— Atlético de Madrid (@atletienglish) April 13, 2022
As usual, City were dominating possession and on the front foot. Kyle Walker’s dangerous cross found Foden who passed to Ilkay Gundogan inside the box. His shot hit the post with the follow-up blocked. Kevin De Bruyne was charging for the shot but was denied by Reinildo. Atletico were committing bodies forward but the goal remained out of reach. In fact, City were looking the likelier to score again as halftime arrived.
— Manchester City US (@ManCityUS) April 13, 2022
The second half was all Atletico to begin with. Joao Felix had a looping header go high before Antoine Griezmann spliced a shot wide. City had Kyle Walker go off through injury. Atletico were swarming the away side’s penalty box in search of the equalizer. However, it was still not coming as Simeone brought on all the attacking guns. Matheys Cunha had a strong shot blocked by John Stones as the game entered the final minutes.
WHAT A BLOCK FROM STONES 😱 pic.twitter.com/eGi88XIi6s
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) April 13, 2022
It all kicked off in injury time. Felipe kicked out at Foden which started an almighty brawl. Stefan Savic and Nathan Ake were booked for their part while Felipe was sent off. A free-kick was punched away by Ederson as Atletico Madrid were really going for it. Foden was doing his own sort of villainy. The final chance fell to Angel Correa whose low strike was kept out by Ederson as the defence scrambled clear. That was all from the match as Atletico were knocked out.
Here are the three key takeaways from the match:
Atletico attack but to no avail
It was a much changed performance from Los Rojiblancos as was expected. They knew they had to score and the play on the pitch suggested it well. The first half started slowly but the second half was all Atletico. Rodrigo De Paul, Angel Correa, Thomas Lemar, and Felix all had chances. They were flying forward down the flanks at every opportunity, looking to switch the play and shoot. The defence held firm and did not allow City to escape in the second half. Despite Simeone using up all his attacking options, it was not to be. Atletico were doomed from the first half and could not recover.
City hold firm to qualify
It was total hell for Guardiola and co.in the second half. They were struggling to cope up, had no amount of possession and almost conceded. The first half was better, Gundogan coming the closest to score. However, it was their defence that really shown through tonight, coming to the rescue time and again. Stones, Ederson, Laporte, Cancelo, Walker were all magnificent when called upon.
9 – @ManCity's Pep Guardiola has reached his ninth @ChampionsLeague semi-final, the most of any manager in the history of the competition (four with Barcelona, three with Bayern Munich, two with City). Unique. pic.twitter.com/wrrqhd71Qc
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 13, 2022
Guardiola bringing on Fernandinho was another masterpiece as it helped to slow the game down and provide another defensive presence. The sending off in the last minutes helped their cause but City will be heaving a big sigh of relief that they are going through.
Guardiola vs Real Madrid again
The semi-final will be one to savour. Guardiola has an excellent record against Real Madrid since his Barcelona days. He will be looking to get one up over his old foe once again.