|"O di woro si woro" Atletico Madrid and City players went for throats late into the game as Filipe got sent off and four others got booked. (Photo credit: ESPN)|
The UEFA Champions League has been voted as the greatest sporting showpiece of all time by the Guinness Book of records and you if you saw what happened across two grounds on Wednesday night, you would understand exactly why.
Manchester City went to the Estadio Wanda Metrapolitano with a 1-0 lead from the first leg and had just one job, maintain that lead or improve on it, boy didn’t they do that? But was it an easy night for Pep Guardiola and his lads?
Diego Simeone and Atletico Madrid are the kings of “Satanic football” but the game started on a different note. Atletico attacked City in the opening minutes and many thought there was a miracle but that didn’t last beyond the first five minutes.
Atletico reverted to their “haram ball” and City took the ascendancy but without real penetration or even forcing Jan Oblak to make notable saves. For the clarity of objectives that Atletico must score to go through, having a meagre xG of 0.02 in the first half would leave anyone bewildered.
The second half was fiercely contested with Simeone ringing attacking changes. The referee had it all to do as both sides got dirty and Filipe had to be sent off for his gross indiscretions, you’d enjoy his theatrics by the way as he pretended as though he didn’t understand the red card he got.
The game ended with both sides cupping strings of yellow cards and Manchester City advanced to book a date with Real Madrid in the semifinals but they would be without Joao Cancelo who got a second yellow and could likely be without Kyle Walker who limped off injured.
"Nothing to say," said Guardiola afterwards when asked about the melee on the pitch and in the tunnel. "It's always difficult with these people in this stadium. "It's a big compliment for the players. We gave everything. We have to live these kinds of situations. We suffered.
"We can't expect that we're going to make everything marvelous against the champions of Spain. The opponent was really, really good."
There were unconfirmed reports of a fracas in the tunnel after the game, involving Savic and Jack Grealish with reports claiming about eight police officers had to wade in, investigations are going on and those indicted will have to face the music.
Liverpool lost a two goal lead in the other game of the night against Benfica at Anfield but advanced due to a 3-1 success away. Liverpool will now face giant killers, Villarreal in the other semifinals in a fortnight.