Pep Guardiola refused to condemn Atletico Madrid’s dark arts as the LaLiga side lost control in the dying stages of the goalless draw with Manchester City.
City survived a bruising encounter with the LaLiga champions to reach the Champions League semi-finals after a hard-fought draw in the Spanish capital. Guardiola’s side battled an intimidating atmosphere and a fired-up home side. But they edged through a tense quarter-final at the Wanda Metropolitano courtesy of last week’s 1-0 first-leg win.
Atletico finished with 10 men as Felipe was sent off. The Atletico man escaped a booking for a terrible challenge on Phil Foden in the first half. But he was red carded late on for kicking out at Foden after tackling the City man.
Man City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan went close to scoring when he hit the post in the first half and he almost won it late on. But the visitors had to dig deep in the second half.
Guardiola, speaking to BT Sport, said: “It is the champion of Spain and they played with energy and in second half were better than us and we were lucky we didn’t concede. In the first half we had chances, overall we are in the semi-finals – it is well deserved.
“The opponent is so tough. All the teams in Champions League come here an suffer so it is important we go through.”
Asked if Diego Simeone’s side overstepped the mark, Guardiola replied: “Nothing to say.
On Phil Foden being targeted, he said: “I don’t know I cannot talk about what other people do, I don’t know.”
On City’s injuries: “We are in big trouble, so we can’t forget we played three days ago. We travelled, come here, have a lot of injuries now and I don’t know what will happen in the next weeks. But today we celebrate because it is the third time in Manchester City’s history we are in the Champions League semi-finals.
Guardiola: We are human beings
“We cannot play all the time and score four or five goals. We are human beings – we come from a difficult game against Liverpool.”
0 – Stefan Savić didn’t commit a single foul over both legs of Atletico Madrid’s quarter-final tie against Manchester City. Unexpected. pic.twitter.com/HDcHFgiyK0
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 13, 2022
John Stones, speaking to BT Sport, said: “We know that they sometimes try and make things happen like that. And we dealt with it really well. It is not nice to talk about. And I don’t want to dwell on it because over the two legs we played incredible against such an experienced side in what they do. We kept our tempers and it is easy to get drawn into stuff like that.
“We knew it was not an easy place to come. It is a hostile environment. It was a difficult night all round and how we defended and controlled ourselves over the two legs was incredible.
“Phil (Foden) was such a threat in both games. He had an instant impact in the first game and how he drove us up the pitch tonight. He gained yards and free-kicks – I think he is feeling it now.”
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