Proud Simeone says Atleti gave 'everything' in Champions League exit

By Sports Desk April 13, 2022

Diego Simeone was satisfied his Atletico Madrid players gave "everything" they had as they exited the Champions League quarter-finals at the hands of Manchester City on Wednesday.

The LaLiga side put in a spirited second-half display at the Wanda Metropolitano, yet a goalless draw meant they suffered a 1-0 aggregate defeat.  

The tetchy match spilled over in the closing stages, with both sets of players clashing after Felipe's foul on Phil Foden – a challenge that saw the defender receive a second yellow card.

Simeone was also booked in stoppage-time after entering the pitch in an apparent attempt to calm down Stefan Savic, who was involved in running battles with City players throughout the game.

The ugly scenes continued in the tunnel after the game as videos circulated on social media showing the players being separated by police.

Simeone did not want to be drawn on the controversy, instead hailing the efforts of his side and the contribution made by the home crowd, who gave the players a rousing reception at full-time.

"The reaction at the end shows the pride of seeing a team that competes," he told Movistar. "It gives us the peace of mind that we have given everything to get through the tie.

"The crowd was enormous throughout the match. The team responded to what the people were looking for and that relationship is difficult to see in the stadiums, that people respect you after being eliminated.

"What is clear to me is that we are proud of who we are, of how we compete. We are out and it hurts, but I love seeing people celebrate when things go well and not so well."

Asked if his attempts to encourage the crowd to clap in the closing minutes was in response to City's perceived time-wasting, Simeone said: "No, please. I was applauding people because I was appreciating the effort the team was making. How can I not applaud people like that?"

The result means Atleti are now winless in their past eight home games in the Champions League.

However, goalkeeper Jan Oblak, who only had one save to make on Wednesday, believes Atleti did enough over the two legs to progress to the last four.  

"It's a shame," he said. "We made a great effort, a great match, we deserved more. We are disappointed, but we did everything we could to score and win the match.

"In the first game, they were better and in the second, we were better. If you put the two games together, we've had more chances. In the end, it wasn't enough to go through to the semis."

Related items

  • Man City will come back fighting after WSL title loss - Taylor Man City will come back fighting after WSL title loss - Taylor

    Gareth Taylor says that Manchester City will "come back fighting" after losing out on the Women’s Super League title on the final day.

    City beat Aston Villa 2-1 thanks to goals from Mary Fowler and Lauren Hemp on Saturday, but ultimately fell just short, missing out to Chelsea on goal difference.

    Emma Hayes led the Blues to a fifth consecutive WSL title with a 6-0 thrashing of Manchester United at Old Trafford, having made up their inferior goal difference with an equally impressive 8-0 win over Bristol City two weeks ago. 

    Taylor has reflected on a "mix of emotions" after narrowly missing out on being champions.

    Speaking to BBC Sport after the game, he said: "I feel really proud of the team's performance. The mad thing is we could have maybe scored double figures today quite easily. That's the difference.

    "To win 18 games in the season and still come up short is not easy but we have. It's been a big push from the team, we've worked incredibly hard, and we'll come back fighting."

    When asked what lessons City can take from this season, Taylor added: "We need to improve in all areas. We have to have potentially better options from the sidelines. I think that's really key.

    "I'm so enthusiastic about the way we played today. A lot of the stuff we did was really good. That's what inspires me to get up in the morning and fight for next season's title."

    Goalkeeper Khiara Keating became the youngest-ever Golden Glove winner in her breakout season, as the 19-year-old kept nine clean sheets in 22 league games and conceded just 15 goals in total.

    While disappointed about Saturday’s outcome, Keating looked back on the highlights of her season.

    She said: "Obviously we are disappointed. We wanted to go out and win a trophy today. We knew what we had to do, and we didn't quite get it done.

    "Hopefully next season in the Champions League we can show what we're about and go and win some trophies.

    "From a personal point of view, my breakout season had a lot to prove at the start of the season, everyone was kind of.. Not doubting but wondering what I'd be like. I hope I've shown everyone what I can do.

    "Gaz [Taylor] put his faith in me to go and play how I play and that is what I needed to go out there and do what I did this season."

  • Swiatek seals Italian Open hat-trick after soaring past Sabalenka Swiatek seals Italian Open hat-trick after soaring past Sabalenka

    Iga Swiatek stormed to her third Italian Open title following a dominant 6-2 6-3 victory over Aryna Sabalenka.

    The world number one took just under an hour-and-a-half to deny the world number two, and complete a hat-trick of triumphs in Rome.

    The pair were contesting a second final in as many events, with Swiatek saving three championship points before eventually prevailing in the Madrid Open showpiece a fortnight ago.

    However, it was one-way traffic this time around. The Pole converted two out of three break points as she controlled the opening set.

    Sabalenka was the last player to deny Swiatek in a WTA final, that coming at last year's Madrid Open.

    Although, the second seed was helpless as her opponent broke again in game seven of the second set, before wrapping up a fourth title of the season ahead of the French Open later this month.

    Data debrief

    Landing her third Italian Open title before turning 23, Swiatek is only the second player to achieve that feat after Gabriela Sabatini.

    In fact, at 22 years and 352 days old, she is the youngest player to win 10 WTA 1000 titles since the introduction of the format in 2009.

    The Pole also became the third player to triumph in Madrid and Rome during the same season, after Dinara Safina (2009) and Serena Williams (2013).

  • Union Berlin survive Bundesliga relegation after stoppage-time winner against Freiburg Union Berlin survive Bundesliga relegation after stoppage-time winner against Freiburg

    Union Berlin scored a stoppage-time winner against Freiburg to secure their Bundesliga safety, despite missing two penalties on a dramatic final day.

    Marco Grote's side, who participated in the Champions League during the first half of this season under former coach Urs Fischer, occupied the relegation play-off spot heading into the final day of the campaign.

    Just three points clear of 17th-place Koln, who travelled to Heidenheim, they welcomed Freiburg to Stadion An der Alten Forsterei, knowing a defeat could spell the end of their five-year stay in the German top flight.

    Mainz, two points clear of Union in 15th, moved themselves out of the relegation picture with a commanding 3-1 win at Wolfsburg.

    That meant one of Union, Bochum or Koln would join already relegated Darmstadt in the second tier. One would have to settle for a play-off place, while the other would survive.

    Koln went down 4-1 at Heidenheim, while Bochum's defeat at Werder Bremen by the same scoreline meant Union could leapfrog them with victory over Freiburg.

    The hosts, for whom Josip Juranovic missed a first-half penalty, broke the deadlock in the 68th minute through Benedict Hollerbach.

    However, they looked set for a relegation play-off when Ritsu Doan equalised for the visitors with five minutes remaining, before substitute Kevin Volland struck the post with his spot-kick early in stoppage time.

    Nevertheless, there was to be a dramatic late twist as Janik Haberer struck in the 92nd minute to catapult Union out of the bottom three and to safety in 15th place.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.