Atletico Madrid star Koke insists he is ‘PROUD’ of his side’s antics at end of Champions League tie – as he claims Man City drove Diego Simeone’s team to ‘MADNESS by throwing themselves on the ground and losing time’
- Atletico Madrid crashed out of the Champions League to Manchester City
- A goalless stalemate in the second leg saw City scrape through on aggregate
- Stefan Savic had incited shocking scenes during the tense quarter final clash
- The Montenegrin headbutted Raheem Sterling and pulled Jack Grealish’s hair
- After the game, Savic then followed Grealish into the tunnel and started a brawl
- Atletico midfielder Koke insisted he was proud of his side’s disgraceful antics
Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke has insisted he is ‘proud’ of his side’s antics following their Champions League exit and claimed that Manchester City’s time-wasting tactics drove the Spanish side to the ‘madness’ at full time.
Diego Simeone’s side drew 0-0 at the Wanda Metropolitano on Tuesday night, meaning they are knocked out of the competition 1-0 on aggregate after losing last week’s first leg at the Etihad.
But the second leg descended into chaos as former City defender Stefan Savic followed Jack Grealish inside the tunnel and attacked the substitute after the full-time whistle.
Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke (right) insisted he is ‘proud’ of his side’s antics following their Champions League exit
The Spanish side drew 0-0 at the Wanda Metropolitano to be knocked out on aggregate
Stefan Savic (second right) instigated disgraceful scenes at the end of Atletico Madrid’s Champions League match against Manchester City, head-butting Raheem Sterling (centre)
The tie had seen its fair share of tension throughout but culminated with a red card for Atletico defender Felipe.
The Brazilian was given his marching orders for a tackle on Phil Foden which sparked a melee in one corner of the pitch. Felipe’s hack left the City forward in a heap and Savic tried to aggressively hoist him off the ground before appearing to headbutt Raheem Sterling.
Savic and Grealish had exchanged words during that brawl – the former pulling the England international’s hair – and the hostility later escalated in the tunnel at full time.
Brazilian defender Felipe flies in on Foden before kicking out at him to earn his second yellow card of the match
Referee Daniel Siebert shows a red card to Felipe after booking him for the second time during the evening in Spain
Atletico have been heavily criticised for the scenes but Koke claimed that City’s tactics had driven the Spanish side to the ‘madness’.
‘I don’t 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 let’s see what people think of it today.’
Four local policemen, dressed in riot gear, had to rush down towards the dressing rooms with Savic and Grealish having to be forcefully separated on a shameful night for the Spanish champions.
There was mayhem in the tunnel afterwards, with both sets of players having to be separated
Savic (right of centre) and Grealish (left) had to be forcefully separated as hostility continued
Marcos Llorente was seen throwing an object in the direction of Aymeric Laporte in the tunnel area, while there appeared to be a physical altercation later in a clip circulating online, and there were reports objects were thrown at members of the opposite camps.
Pep Guardiola was also targeted as the City boss was showered with bottles being thrown from the stands as he darted towards the tunnel at full time.
City had control of proceedings in the first half but struggled to contend with Atletico after the break. But the Premier League champions held out, keeping a fourth consecutive clean sheet in the competition.
However, Koke believed the City stars were deploying time-wasting tactics to see their tie through to the end.
When pressed on what he felt was time wasting by City, Koke said: ‘Today it has been seen. Many times we are Atletico who are criticised and today we are proud of what the team has done.
The dust-up began when Savic forcefully tried to hoist Phil Foden (bottom) off the floor
City players then angrily confronted Savic, who responded with violence and aggression
Koke believed the City stars were deploying time-wasting tactics to progress to the semi finals
‘We wanted to be in the semis, we are hurt, but proud of this Champions League and we will never stop believing. Now to focus on LaLiga to get into the Champions League.’
Speaking after the hostile encounter, John Stones, man of the match for the evening, praised his teammates for emerging from such a tough encounter.
He told BT Sport: ‘We know that they sometimes try and make things happen like that and we dealt with it really well.
‘It is not nice to talk about and I don’t want to dwell on it because over the two legs we played incredible against such an experienced side in what they do. We kept our tempers and it is easy to get drawn into stuff like that.’
‘We knew it was not an easy place to come, it is a hostile environment, it was a difficult night all round and how we defended and controlled ourselves over the two legs was incredible,’ he added.