Manchester City Advances to UCL Semis After Scoreless Draw with Atletico Madrid

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVApril 13, 2022

MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 13: Aymeric Laporte of Manchester City battles for possession with Angel Correa of Atletico Madrid during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final Leg Two match between Atletico Madrid and Manchester City at Wanda Metropolitano on April 13, 2022 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
David Ramos/Getty Images

Manchester City held firm at the Wanda Metropolitano on Wednesday to advance to the semifinals of the Champions League with a 1-0 aggregate win over Atletico Madrid.

Tensions boiled over as the match neared the end of the 90 minutes.

Felipe brought Phil Foden down along the sideline, and Stefan Savic attempted to push Foden out of the field of play for the action to continue. That triggered a scuffle between the teams, and Felipe was ultimately handed a second yellow card for the tackle on Foden.

Nico Cantor @Nicocantor1

Atlético Madrid, specifically Felipe, just shot themselves in the foot. The duel with Foden was over and he followed through with intent.<br><br>Foden, slyly, rolls back onto the pitch. Savić tries to push him back out and Zinchenko goes to stop Savić. Madness ensues.

That left the hosts with only 10 men at a critical juncture.

Yannick Carrasco forced Ederson to make a save off a free kick in the eighth minute of stoppage time, but couldn't make the breakthrough. Ederson saved another shot from Angel Correa in the 12th added minute, which effectively sealed the 0-0 draw.

Manchester City owned the advantage after the first leg thanks to a goal from Kevin De Bruyne. The score didn't do justice to how much City controlled the match as they had 68 percent of possession and finished with 15 shots to zero for Atletico.

Still, there was no room for complacency for Pep Guardiola's side. Bayern Munich's exit Tuesday at the hands of Villarreal served as a reminder of how fine the margins can be after a tight first leg. Villarreal only had two shots on target against Bayern over the two meetings and walked away 2-1 winners on aggregate.

In the 30th minute, Manchester City supporters might have been wondering whether it was going to be one of those nights. Ilkay Gundogan hit the post and triggered a brief frenzy around the Atletico six-yard box.

CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ @CBSSportsGolazo

City came close. 😮 <a href="https://t.co/pBDSalnele">pic.twitter.com/pBDSalnele</a>

While the first half was scoreless, City were largely dictating the pace. They were weathering Atletico Madrid's physical style well and keeping their opponents from getting out on the counterattack.

Nobody expected Atletico to be the aggressors early on, but their inability to pose any sort of threat going forward didn't bode well.

B/R Football @brfootball

Atlético Madrid have had one goal attempt in 135 minutes against Manchester City 😬 <a href="https://t.co/9JgFHryWep">pic.twitter.com/9JgFHryWep</a>

Nevertheless, the Rojiblancos remained only one goal away from making things very interesting. And perhaps by design, they opened the second half with a far more proactive approach.

Suddenly, City's backs were against the ropes and they were swimming against the onrushing tide.

Jonny Singer @Jonny_Singer

The way Atletico have started this second half makes the previous 3 halves both completely worth it, and slightly ridiculous. They can take the game to City, and cause them problems, and not even leave themselves that open... <a href="https://t.co/hio2qw2pVE">https://t.co/hio2qw2pVE</a>

Andy West @andywest01

Credit to Atletico, they have managed this tie really well. Now need more quality/precision in the final third, that's all they're missing in this second half. Savic and Kondogbia totally dominating their areas of the pitch.

Geoffrey Kondogbia was massive in midfield for the home side. The 29-year-old provided cover for the defense and was often the facilitator to begin Atletico's attacking moves. He delivered a man of the match performance.

The introductions of Carrasco and Correa also made a big difference as they provided the pace and energy Atletico needed to push for the equalizer.

A quick sequence in the 87th minute summed up how Manchester City was managing to stymie those efforts but only just so. Matheus Cunha had a clean look at goal, only for his shot to get blocked by John Stones. On the ensuing corner kick, Ederson flapped at the ball and nearly gifted Atletico a scoring chance at the far post.

Were it not for the Felipe sending off, City could very well have kept the clean sheet they needed anyway to move on. More than just going a man down, though, the prolonged pause stopped Atletico's momentum dead. City also deployed the kind of time-wasting tactics Diego Simeone's players so often use to perfection.

In the end, Atletico Madrid were beaten at their own game. 

Manchester City will meet Real Madrid in the more anticipated of the two semifinals. It will host the first leg before the return fixture at the Santiago Bernabeu.