Koke defends Atletico Madrid teammates and blames Manchester City for Champions League ‘madness’
Posted by  badge Boss on Apr 14
Atletico Madrid’s game with Manchester City ended with a fight between the rival players on the pitch and in the tunnel (Credits: Action Images via Reuters)

captain Koke has defended his teammates and blasted following the ill-tempered clash on Wednesday night.

Atletico were knocked out of the competition after playing out a goalless draw at the Wanda Metropolitano, which was enough to see the Citizens advance to the semi-final stage after they won the first leg 1-0 courtesy of a Kevin De Bruyne goal.

But the game was marred by a scuffle between the players in the closing stages, instigated when Felipe kicked out at , during which former City defender Stefan Savic appeared to headbutt Raheem Sterling and push Foden, who had rolled off the pitch, back onto the playing surface.

Felipe eventually saw red for his part in the incident, but the confrontation continued long after the final whistle with players and coaching staff seen clashing in the tunnel, with the police ultimately having to intervene.

Atletico’s players and their manager Diego Simone have received criticism for their nefarious tactics and general lack of gamesmanship throughout the two legs which directly led to tempers boiling over in Madrid.

However, Koke disagrees that his team were to blame for what happened, instead suggesting that City’s time-wasting antics were the cause.

Atletico skipper Koke (left) has been with the Spanish club for his whole career (Photo: Getty)

Speaking post-match, the Spanish midfielder said: ‘The match takes you to that madness when you see that you have chances, and they drop to the ground and waste time.

‘Many times, we are criticised for this situation, but today it was them. Let’s see what people think of this. Today it has been seen, we are Atletico de Madrid, and I am proud of this team.

‘I’m proud of my team-mates for the effort. I have nothing to reproach the team with. I’m proud of everyone and the fans, who have lost, stayed to applaud us after the game. This is Atletico.’

A one-club man, 30-year-old Koke has won two La Liga titles and two Europa Leagues with Atletico and it is no surprise to see him leap to his team’s defence, while Simeone has claimed ignorance, saying: ‘I didn’t see it [the tunnel fight].

‘I stayed on the pitch applauding the fans and saying hi to everyone on the pitch. So, by the time I went upstairs everyone had gone.’

Meanwhile, City’s work in the Spanish capital is not quite done yet, with Pep Guardiola’s side due to face Real Madrid, who beat holders Chelsea in a thrilling encounter on Tuesday, in the semi-finals in a fortnight’s time.

But for now, their attention will turn to Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool, who also advanced to the Champions League semis on Wednesday after knocking out Benfica.


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