Felipe sent off late as Manchester City battle past the fat Atlético Madrid | Champions League

It was full, it was suffocating, it was thoroughbred – just as billed – and it blew up in the 89th minute with a lot of melee between the players from both Atlético Madrid and Manchester City, including lots of substitutions.

The spark had come when Atlético defender Felipe, who already had a reservation for having cleared Phil Foden at the start, slipped into him at the sideline before appearing to kick him. With his foot down, hell broke loose, another Atlético defender, Stefan Savic, tried to lift him up and was shot away by Oleksandr Zinchenko, who was an unused City replacement when everyone met.

There would be much more. When the warring parties were finally judged apart, Felipe received another yellow card and Savic a first, presumably for the feud with Foden instead of his header on Raheem Sterling, another City substitute who appeared to be missing.

The break stretched to 13 minutes – there would be seven reservations alone in that period – and there was then almost an Atlético equalizer, substitute Angel Correa extending Ederson with a low drive at the end.

The stadium was in a frenzy, thoughts lost, and after the full-time whistle, there would be a fight in the tunnel between Savic, the former City player, and Jack Grealish, another unused City substitute, leading to a possession of police officers whizzing after them. Grealish had called Savic the C-word during the melee, which led to Savic grabbing his hair.

A bandaged Phil Foden fights Marcos Llorente for the ball. Photo: Bagu Blanco / Pressinphoto / Shutterstock

And yet, when the temper had cooled and some kind of common sense returned, City had what they wanted – a place in the Champions League semi-finals, where they will face Real Madrid, Chelsea’s conquerors across the city on Tuesday night in what was a different high-octane classic.

From a City point of view, it was all about their resilience balls – as the locals would say – and there was a special joy to be had in how they held together under a pressure cooker in the second half to come out with a hard won clean sheet.

It was hard to remember who Pep Guardiola’s coats of arms were stuck in their own half for so long, but that was exactly what happened in pretty much the entire second half, Ilkay Gündogan’s 97th minute shot that was superbly saved by Jan Oblak , which did not resist.

City had forced themselves into the first half, but it was a different story after the break, Atlético – encouraged by a skinger and biased crowd – strangled them, forced them back and asked unpleasant questions. From the restart, they pressed hard and brought the aggression, and they had several flickers in front of goal, which the home fans were ultra quick to get behind. Renan Lodi’s post was just too far ahead of the dangerous Joao Felix, the striker headed over from a Marcos Llorente center and Antoine Griezmann was narrowly out of goal from the edge of the area.

City had a hard time getting up on the field. Atlético’s game plan had worked, they had their opponents exactly where they wanted them – on the back foot, the pulses were running. The heart-to-mouth moments of the traveling City support kept coming. Atlético substitute Rodrigo De Paul rolled wide, Correa howled after a penalty kick against a combination of João Cancelo and Rodri, and after 87 minutes another substitute, Matheus Cunha, got a shot blocked by John Stones.

Diego Simeone introduced Luis Suarez from the bench and it seemed as if he would find the equalizer. And yet it was Correa who came closest at the death, Ederson rescued and City exhaled.

It was an epic competition in its own way, in part for the wrong reasons, with the dark art ever present. And let’s not pretend that City did not employ them. With the scoreboard showing that 79 minutes had been played, Fernandinho nearly put themselves up another goal after City came through on the left.

The foot was a symbol of their defiance. Felipe had left him dizzy and bloody after jumping into him in a 12-minute air challenge and wiping him out with a violent barge on his upper body. But the Foot, who came forward with a bandage wrapped around his head, refused to be frightened. It is noteworthy that Felipe avoided a reservation for it, but he quickly got his first to go into the back of Kevin De Bruyne. The City midfielder would eventually limp.

Guardiola wanted his players to seek the ball, enjoy it, and they came on the front foot while the first half went on and the initial Atlético rise was ebbed out. City had come close from an early corner, the Stones on their way high and they created the opening chance’s big chance in the 30th minute.

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Riyad Mahrez released Kyle Walker, who crossed low, and when Foden put the ball away, Gündogan had the opportunity to shoot close. He hit the post and his header on the riposte was blocked by Felipe.

Atlético had not managed a shot in the first half and they only got one shot away in the first half here – a rejected effort from Geoffrey Kondogbia, who was routine for Ederson. Second period was anything but.

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