Atlético Madrid – Manchester City: Subpar City Stumble Into Semi-Finals (0-0)
After a tense first leg where Manchester City just about managed to breach Atlético Madrid’s resolute defense, the two teams went at it again. The second leg turned out to be even scrappier, especially towards the end, but City just about managed to hold on to their 1-0 aggregate lead and advance to the semi-finals.
Tactical analysis and match report by Neel Shelat.
Manchester City faced their third-consecutive stern test after the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final and a top of the table league clash against Liverpool in a storm of difficult and very consequential fixtures in April. They knew that a win here would set them up with two semi-final dates against Atlético’s neighbours Real Madrid, who knocked defending champions Chelsea out in dramatic fashion.
They made a couple of changes from the side that drew with Liverpool, with Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus making way for İlkay Gündoğan and Riyad Mahrez. Atlético Madrid made just one change from the first leg, as Šime Vrsaljko was replaced by Thomas Lemar, which forced Marcos Llorente into the right wing-back position.
Hello to the high press
One of the standout features of the first leg was Atlético Madrid’s 5-5-0 defensive shape and ultra-low block, but . . .