Man City 1 Atletico Madrid 0FT
The champions league is back; we have reached the quarterfinal stage of this competition as it starts to heat up with a pathway to the Champions League final underway. Manchester City hosting Atletico Madrid at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester Pep Guardiola against Diego Simeone. Manchester City came into the quarterfinals after taking care of it, Sporting Lisbon while still on track to win the Premier League for the fourth time in five years. On the other hand, Atletico Madrid took down their neighbors in Manchester Manchester United in the round of 16 to earn a spot in the quarterfinals. Atletico Madrid won the La Liga title last season but has been struggling in this campaign despite their two-goal victory against Alves over the weekend, thanks to a brace from Joao Felix. Two of the best managers in World football with two entirely different approaches. Pep Guardiola, the man who continued Johan Cruyff’s work with the Tikki Taka Barcelona style of football, is very attacking-minded; he has done it with Barcelona, Bayern Munich, and now Manchester City. On the other hand, Diego Simeone is one of the most psychotic managers in the world; everything about the Argentine is about the mentality of a True Villain; he punked Andrew Robertson in the Champions League of a few years ago and got the last laugh against Manchester United however all the positives of Diego Simeone his football is one of the most defensive teams in Europe he has had incredible success with this style even though it is highly criticized. A true Clash of attacking and defensive football. 54,000 would be in attendance at the Etihad Stadium for the Champions League quarterfinals kicking off in Manchester.
The battle would commence in the quarter-finals of the champions league on Tuesday night. Atletico Madrid going into Manchester trying to slow down the fluid attacking style of Manchester City. While Athletico Madrid has some attacking weapons to their disposal, going super aggressively against his Manchester City team was high-risk. We know Diego Simeone well enough it was going to be an extreme defense against Pep Guardiola’s attacking football. Manchester City was the more assertive one moving the ball extremely well, trying to position themselves in those dangerous areas with the intention of overwhelming Atletico Madrid. They were at home in their own stadium; this would be the best chance to take advantage of the first leg. We saw it for Manchester City very early as Atletico Madrid sat back and let Manchester City go right at them. Diego Simeone is a defensive Mastermind; as highly critical as you can be of the style of play, his team was very much prepared for what Manchester city would throw at them. In the opening 10 minutes in the very early stages of the game, Manchester City attempted to extinguish the first blow of the evening. Very versatile and dangerous Joao Cancelo wrecked a strike from outside the box, looking for enough space. Still, the defensive structure got in the way as the game’s opening chance for Manchester City ran into the defense, ultimately not being able to get a clean look. 3 minutes later, Manchester City took a different approach as they found their way into the box. However, it did not change the defensive mentality of Atletico Madrid; getting into the box was going to be somewhat difficult, but if they were able to do so, it didn’t eliminate the problem because of how Atletico Madrid was set up. Kevin De bruyne manages to get inside the box, but the Athletico Madrid defense gets in the way. Diego Simeone set up his team in a 5–3–2 formation. The defensive tactics had three defensive midfielders in his setup that often tucked back and joined the defense, so Manchester City had to deal with eight defensive players simultaneously. Athletico Madrid did have Antoine Griezmann and Joao Felix up top, but it was a very defensive approach trying to eliminate actual chances in the game from Manchester City. At no point did Atletico seem remotely interested in going forward and trying to get a goal; the mentality seemed to be trying to escape Manchester with a close scoreline. Taking a low-scoring game to the Wando Metropolitan would favor them in Madrid; they are a different animal. Even though they are defensive in their home stadium, they are brilliant at mustering up enough attacking play to get the result in the end. Manchester City going at them, trying to do something. Manchester City had all the possession they wanted. In the 22nd minute, we saw the first significant chance on goal. Coming off the corner kick Gundogan followed through from outside the box, getting through the ascetical Madrid defense but still unable to put it through. It must have been tormenting and frustrating for Manchester City; they had the majority of the ball, creating many chances, but the defensive setup from Diego Simeone limited a lot of chances for Manchester City. Just a few minutes past the half-hour mark, Rodri added frustration with a strike from outside the box once again getting blocked by the Atletico Madrid defense, getting in the way of another attempt on goal from the reigning Premier League champions. In the 43rd minute, with time dwindling down in the first half, John Stones misses the mark from outside the box. It was a goalless draw at the end of 45 minutes. Still much to do in this quarter-final. It indeed was the ultra-defensive play of Diego Simeone against the high-powered attack of Pep Guardiola; so far, it was an advantage for Simeone.
Diego Simeone plays significantly negatively throughout the first half. Manchester City created more and had a considerable advantage in possession but struggled to break through. The setup being deployed by Atletico Madrid was frustrating to Manchester City. Athletico Madrid’s approach with working so far with no intention of going forward was transparent what Atletico was trying to do. Still, the dangerous part about this is it’s playing this precise way; if Manchester City found a way to get in the box and score, it would put Atletico in a spot where they would not have the means to come back. Things got restarted in the second half, and it seemed like more of the same from both sets of teams. Kevin De bruyne, just minutes into the second half, looks to set up his German teammate as Gundogan preparing to take a strike from close but it was the Atletico Madrid defense once again getting in the way. From Manchester City’s perspective, it must have been so infuriating having to deal with a team that was not interested in attacking and was going to defend the entire game. Finally, in the 55th minute, Manchester City registered a shot on goal as Kevin De bruyne went for goal from a distance as Oblak was called into action to make the save. We were in the 55th minute, and that was the first time Manchester City forced the Slovenian keeper to do anything. This wasn’t the fault of Manchester City; they were playing fantastic it was defensive pressure set up from Athletico. 2 minutes later, in the 57th minute, Raheem Sterling misfired from the side of the box off a set-piece delivery from Kevin De bruyne. Atletico Madrid would look to their bench have they made three changes. Angel Correa would replace Antoine Griezmann, Rodrigo de Paul would replace Koke, and Cunha would come in for Marcos Llorente. Diego Simeone brings in an attacking midfielder, a striker, and another defensive Midfield. Based on the changes made, they suggested that maybe Athletico Madrid was going to try to attack a little bit more as the game went on. It didn’t change at all; despite the attacking Personnel brought on by Diego Simeone, the Atletico Madrid team’s approach and mentality did not change. Manchester City was still Relentless in its approach, trying to get enough space to breakthrough. In the 64th minute, Riyad Mahrez delivered, coming off a corner, finding Laporte following through with a header. Oblak was forced to react, but the header had a bit too much on it. 4 minutes later, Manchester City came through again as Bernardo Silva delivered a well time to cross into the box, finding Riyad Mahrez connecting with a header but ended up missing the target. Manchester City was starting to break through a bit. Guardiola went to this bench bringing in Jack Grealish for Gundogan, Gabriel Jesus in for Raheem Sterling, and Phil Foden replacing Riyad Mahrez. In the 70th minute, Manchester City finally found a way in. Bernardo Silva picked out a path for Phil Foden; the English Talent makes an immediate impact. As he collects the past immediately surrounded by Athletico Madrid players, the Superstar found just enough space to Ripple through a pass into Kevin De bruyne, who picks out the bottom left corner putting Manchester City into the lead as they take a 1–0 lead.
Swift finish from Kevin De bruyne, but the young Superstar Phil Foden supplies the magic needed for Manchester City, one of the best youngsters in World football. I still rate Florian Wirtz and Pedri as the two best youngsters in Europe, but Phil Foden is not far behind Head and Shoulders above any other young player in England at the moment; he is an exceptional talent that comes off the bench and delivers a brilliant substitution immediately from Pep Guardiola as his side is now in front. The mentality of Atletico remained unchanged. I don’t know the thought process of Diego Simeone, but part of me believes that he was willing to risk a narrow defeat. Atletico continued to defend aggressively, and that’s it. Thomas Lemar was brought in for Joao Felix. In the game’s closing moments, Kevin De bruyne misfires from outside the box, and a late chance from Phil Foden was dealt with by the Atletico Madrid defense. Manchester City leaves the Etihad at the full-time whistle with a 1–0 lead. With the Brilliance from Phil Foden separating the two teams. Atletico Madrid had the most defensive football I’ve ever witnessed without a shot in the game. Manchester City should be thrilled with the advantage. However, Athletico Madrid is still very much in this with a trip to the Wanda Metropolitano, an incredible Fortress for the second leg out of this clash of Pep Guardiola vs. Diego Simeone lived up but still everything to play for.
Pep Guardiola in Manchester City takes a slight advantage into the second leg in Spain. Manchester City dominated the game; they had the majority of the ball, considerable events in possession, and many scoring chances. Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid played the most defensive football in the Champions League. Athletico Madrid did not take one shot for the entire game duration. Diego Simeone did have no intention of trying to win it. He wanted to minimize the score and take care of business at home in Madrid. Even though he did play with two Strikers, they were more or fewer decoys. Five Defenders with three defensive midfielders stacked the box with as many bodies as I possibly could, which made it incredibly difficult for Manchester City to break through. The Atletico Madrid defense didn’t disrupt only a fair few of their shots. It took a moment of Brilliance from Phil Foden to see Manchester City leave the Etihad with an advantage. Athletico Madrid made it as brutal as they possibly could have. Manchester City was Far and Away the better team and deserved the advantage they currently have as they look to clamp down in Spain and get themselves to yet another Champions League semi-final. Pep Guardiola has been unsuccessful in winning the champions league for Manchester City; he’s been to one several final semi-finals But ultimately could not get there in the end last year against Chelsea. Pep Guardiola would desperately like another crack at winning the champions league for a Manchester City team in desperate need of one. Manchester City will go into the next game with confidence; however, playing at the Metropolitan is no easy task, and even though Athletico Madrid defended like champions. Atletico Madrid only has a one-goal deficit; they play very differently at home. While Manchester City might have the lead in this quarter-final Advantage, still maybe with Athletico Madrid, it’s tough to say. They’re warriors in Madrid in that stadium; they’re as difficult to beat as anyone. Manchester City has the team to do it and to win the second leg, but it’s no done deal. They’re only down by a goal, and this could be one of those games where we see Atletico Madrid turn it on at home, get the equalizer, potentially take it to extra time, and maybe even win it. Man City gets the job is done, but it’s far from over; despite putting together the most negative football ever seen in the Champions League, Athletico Madrid still is very much in this.