Manchester City took a small step towards the semifinals of the Champions League by beating Atlético de Madrid 1-0 on Tuesday in the first leg of the continental tournament’s quarterfinals. José María Giménez did not play due to injury and Luis Suárez watched the game from the substitutes’ bench.
A goal from Kevin de Bruyne (70) put City ahead ahead of the second leg in Madrid next week, after a game in which Atlético limited the damage to get out of Manchester alive.
With this victory, Manchester City took a small step towards the semi-finals.
We had to wait for the second half to see a flat game liven up in its first half, without any of the teams creating real danger.
Simeone and Guardiola separate their players
The ‘Citizens’, too slow in the circulation of the ball to make Atlético suffer, they tried their luck with long shots or crosses into the box.
Atlético barely left their area in the first half, but after the break they advanced their defensive line and applied more pressure to get more on the counterattack.
Marcos Llorente gave the scare with a shot in the area that Ederson saved (51)but City responded with a free kick by Kevin De Bruyne from the edge of the box that forced Jan Oblak to stretch (55).
With the game stuck, the two coaches moved the bench looking to refresh their teams and speed up the game, but the changes went better for Pep Guardiola.
The greater speed in the circulation of the ball given by City to their game, had its reward when Phil Foden, recently out on the field for Mahrez (68), he filtered a ball into the area where De Bruyne appeared to make it 1-0 (70).
Despite being behind on the scoreboard, Atlético did not go crazy, nor did they get messy to withstand the harassment of the locals and get out of the Etihad alive.
The rojiblancos, who got rid of Manchester United in the round of 16, hope to repeat their feat to get into what would be their fourth semi-final in the continental tournament.
It will be the return of Luis Suárez to England and to Manchester, and he does it on a roll after scoring a brace last Saturday against Alavés for La Liga in Spain, and after scoring the national team’s goal for the win against Chile in Santiago last Tuesday.
Luis Suárez was in the bank
The man from Salta had fun on the flight when he saw his Argentine partner Rodrigo De Paul while he made movements to his mate.
The Uruguayan has been a substitute in Diego Simeone’s team, so it is expected that he will start again from the bench.
The two teams meet for the first time in Europebut Simeone already knows what it’s like to face his City counterpart Pep Guardiola.
The Argentine prevailed in the semifinals of the Champions League in 2016 when ‘Pep’ led Bayern Munich, winning 1-0 in the first leg in Madrid and although he fell 2-1 in the second leg, Griezmann’s goal in Munich gave him the pass to the final, which they would later lose to Real Madrid.
Suarez at the Etihad Stadium
The memory of that tie will be very present in the red and white minds for Tuesday’s game at the Etihad Stadium, for which ‘Cholo’ has three notable casualties.
Without Giménez behind
Uruguayan central defender José María Giménez, who retired with problems in Atlético’s 4-1 victory over Alavés in the league on Saturday, and Mexican midfielder Héctor Herrera, did not travel due to injurywhile winger Yannick Carrasco is suspended.
Atlético will try to apply their rocky and direct style on the pitch with a view to stopping Guardiola’s possession game and taking advantage of the spaces that the English team can leave.
“It’s a game to take where we think we can do damage with our way of playing these years,” Simeone said. This Monday at a press conference.
“They are more offensive than people think. They don’t take many risks when it comes to getting the ball out, but when they get to our field, they will show the quality of their players,” warned Guardiola.
Suarez at the Etihad Stadium
The offensive responsibility will probably go to Joao Félix and Antoine Griezmann, who have forged a good understanding in front.
The Frenchman is his team’s top scorer in the Champions League this season with four goals and two assists, and his work in the defensive phase has always been praised by Simeone.
His Portuguese teammate is achieving the performance that was expected of him with seven goals and two assists in the last eight games.
Gunpowder to try to hurt a Manchester City that heads the Premier classification in conflict with Liverpool.
‘There are two parties’
The red and white defense will have to work at its best level to stop a very offensive City.
“City have extraordinary footballers and surely better than us, but there are two games,” Simeone recalled..
The English team faces the match with the loss of its central Rubén Dias, who did not train this Monday.
The former Barcelona coach, who is still looking for his first Champions League since leaving the Barça team, wants to put his team back in a Champions League finalafter the one he lost last year against Chelsea.
City will look to their goalscorer Ryiad Mahrez to try to pierce the athletic wall. The Algerian is the top scorer for his team this season, posting 22 goals and 7 assists in 36 official matches.
Six of those goals have been scored in his eight games in the current Champions League.
Based on AFP