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Manchester City booked their place in the Champions League semi finals after standing up to Atletico Madrids physical approach to earn a 0-0 draw at the Wanda Metropolitano
Atletico Madrid captain Koke has said he stands by his sides antics in the closing stages againstManchester Cityand pointed the blame at theirPremier Leagueopponents.
City stood up in the face of intense hostility at the Wanda Metropolitano to grind out a 0-0 draw which saw them progress 1-0 on aggregate.
The closing stages were marred by ugly scenes on the field, with both sets of teams embroiled in a bust-up.
The flashpoint occurred in the final few minutes when Phil Foden, who withstood a battering from Diego Simeones side, rolled back onto the pitch after being fouled by Felipe Luis. Stefan Savic proceeded to grab Foden by the collar of his shirt, sparking a melee involving all 22 players, plus players off the bench.
Jack Grealish involved in ugly tunnel spat at Atletico Madrid as police intervene
Inside Atletico Madrid tunnel fury as Jack Grealish and Aymeric Laporte targeted
Savic was then spotted pulling Jack Grealishs hair, but somehow avoided a red card despite committing multiple indiscretions. Felipe did see red, but City still had to ride out more than 10 minutes of pressure in stoppage time to seal their semi final spot where they will faceReal Madrid. The animosity continued after the full-time whistle, with police forced tointervene in scuffles in the tunnel.
Atletico have come in for intense criticism for their actions, but Koke has accused City of gamesmanship and said they were took to madness by the English champions. I dont know what happened because I was on the bench and he caught me in the other corner. football situations, he said of the red card.
The game takes you to that madness when you see that you have chances and they throw themselves on the ground and lose time. They criticise us for that many times and lets see what people think of it today.
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Pressed on what he felt was time wasting by City, Koke added: Today it has been seen. Many times we are Atltico who are criticised and today we are proud of what the team has done.
We wanted to be in the semis, we are hurt, but proud of thisChampions Leagueand we will never stop believing. Now to focus on LaLiga to get into the Champions League.
John Stones was one of many City heroes on display in the Spanish capital and admitted it wasnt nice to focus on Atletis extra-curricular activities. We know they sometimes try and make things happen like that. I thought we dealt with it really well, he told BT Sport.
Its not nice to talk about that, I dont want to dwell on it too much because over two legs I think we played incredible against such an experienced team in what they do, in such a low block.
Im so proud of the lads today on how we kept control and our tempers. Its so easy to get drawn in, so happy to be through, great night.
The England defender added: We knew its not easy, its my first time. Hostile environment. From talking to boys who have been here before and who know their players and how they play, it was a difficult night all round. I think how we defended, how we controlled ourselves, over two legs was incredible.
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