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Felipe took the wind out of Atletico Madrid’s sails in Champions League match against Manchester City


What a pity. Atlético Madrid had Manchester City on the ropes in their Champions League quarterfinal second leg when Felipe ruined things with a stupid piece of bravado. He’d been under the shadow of a yellow card all game for challenge on De Bruyne having escaped one for a shoulder into Foden 10 minutes before, who ended up with a bandage on his head. In the 88th minute the Brazilian dealt well with Foden on the counter out on the touchline, but decided to leave his leg in. The outcome: Foden rolling in the deck, a mass brawl, cards for Savic and Aké... and a second yellow for Felipe, who then refused to go off. A lengthy break in time and decisive in the play.

Atlético’s best spell ruined

Because what was left - 12 minutes of play - was far different to what we’d seen in the previous 20, with Atleti pressing hard and creating chances, Simeone making daring changes, Guardiola the opposite, and City all over the place. A goal seemed to be coming for the home side. The stoppage was disastrous for Atlético, who were now nervous while City found their escape route cynically employing all the old tricks to stop the game being played. A remake of the worst tactics of Estudiantes de la Plata in the sixties. Not a hint of the football of violins played by angels associated with Guardiola. It was a case of getting to shore by any means necessary.

What could have been for Atleti

City wasted so much time that the 12 minutes added on was clearly short and entirely unfair. We’ll never know what would have happened without Felipe’s moment of stupidity and with five minutes of time added on, as seemed reasonable. And we’ll also never know how the tie would have gone if Atlético had played both games with the same vim they showed in the second half. Seeing how City struggled under Atleti’s onslaught makes Atleti’s reluctance to attack at the Etihad feel even worse. Of course Simeone can always say, or at least tell himself, that everything was going to plan till Felipe ruined everything.

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Angel MartinezGetty

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