The police had to intervene after the poor end of Atletico Madrid’s 0-0 draw with Manchester City in the Champions League quarter-final second leg, which turned into a confrontation after the match in the tunnel.
City will face Real Madrid in the semi-finals after falling behind in a late victory from Atletico, who improved greatly in the second half at the Wanda Metropolitano on Wednesday to lead 1-0 on aggregate.
Tensions were exacerbated in the 91st minute when Atletico defender Felipe was sent off for a challenge on Phil Foden, sparking a scuffle that continued in the tunnel after the full-time whistle.
Dawson: Man City stood tall while Atleti tried to bully them
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Television footage showed Stefan Savic trying to confront Jack Grealish, after he was previously pictured pulling the City player’s hair in the melee after Felipe’s red card. The Atletico coaching staff had to restrain substitute Sime Vrsaljko and stop goalkeeper Ederson Kyle Walker before police officers intervened to restore order.
“The match can make you angry like that, when you put them under pressure and create chances, and they fall back and waste time,” Atletico captain Koke said when asked about the red card and the ensuing brawl. “It’s football. We are often criticized for that, let’s see what people think about it today.”
Atletico players were enraged by what they felt were City’s attempts to beat the clock as they maintained a 1-0 lead in the first leg.
“In a tense match like this, it can happen,” said Atleti goalkeeper Jan Oblak. “People came off the bench, there’s a lot of nerves, it’s normal to have pressure and some bad words. What happens in the match, it stays there. That was good for City, they wasted some time.”
However, City defender Aymeric Laporte responded, “The one who was wasting time was their team, and they got into ridiculous fights.
“We already know how they are and they always do the same. It’s always ugly to see these fights, so much fuss happening with so little. I think it was bad for them because they were at their best moment in the game.”
Pep Guardiola refused to answer questions about wasting time, but City midfielder Rodri admitted there are times when it is necessary.
“When you’re locked in the back and when you have five to ten minutes left, we have to play with other weapons,” Rodri said.
“I’m not in favor of doing that throughout the game, but on occasions. What stays on the field stays there. It’s a game with a lot of pressure and I don’t really know what happened to Felipe, but it’s not fun.”
Both Oblak and coach Diego Simeone said they did not see what happened in the tunnel, as they remained outside the field after the match to thank the Atletico fans for their support.
“I didn’t see it,” Simeone said at a news conference after the match. “I was with the players and greeting the fans.” When I went up the stairs [in the tunnel]There was no one there.”
Simeone denied he drew mock applause off the bench at City and his counterpart Guardiola in extra time – saying: “I didn’t praise the opponent’s bench, I applauded our fans” – but still seemed annoyed by Guardiola’s comments about Atletico’s defence. Tactics after the first leg.
“People with a large vocabulary are often very smart, and they manage to praise you with disrespect,” Simeone said. “But those of us who probably have a smaller vocabulary, we’re not that stupid.
“Football has many sides. I will not give my opinion on the way the opponent behaves. We will focus on us, play maybe against the best team in the world and know that we can compete. But that does not make me happy, the only thing that makes me happy is winning.”