It was one-way traffic at the Etihad last week as Manchester City restricted Atletico Madrid to a grand total of zero shots and just 29% possession, but the scoreline is only 1-0 to Pep Guardiola’s men, so it is certainly all to play for in this Champions League quarter-final tie.
Guardiola has tussled with Atleti plenty of times across his career, both on the pitch and in the dugout, but the Catalan coach is yet to test himself at the Wanda Metropolitano, last taking on Diego Simeone’s side whilst manager of Bayern Munich at the Vicente Calderon.
Atleti went through during that 2015/16 semi-final showdown, winning on away goals, meaning Guardiola is still yet to lift the Champions League since claiming the coveted cup as manager of Barcelona in 2011. He will be desperate to exact revenge here and move one step closing to winning continental silverware.
Simeone meanwhile has reached the Champions League final on two occasions, but he is yet to lift the colloquially-known ‘Big Ears’ trophy, so the ever-animated Argentine will be seeking a more up-and-at-em approach on Wednesday to change the complexion of this contest.
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Atletico Madrid vs Man City: Match Stats
Simone’s system is very much built on the foundation of defensive resilience, setting up to frustrate rather than express, as was evident at the Etihad last week. That may explain their recent run of overseeing under 1.5 goals in four of their last five games across all competitions, claiming 1-0s against Man Utd and Rayo Vallecano, but recently suffering 1-0 defeats to Man City and Mallorca at the weekend.
Incredibly, Atleti failed to attempt a single shot in that first leg against City. Since 2003/04, the fewest shots recorded by a team across two legs of a Champions League knockout tie is four (Shakhtar Donetsk vs Bayern Munich in 2014/15). In fact, the only team who have failed to record a single shot on target across two legs in that same timeframe is Deportivo La Coruna in the 2003/04 semi-finals against Porto.
Atletico Madrid vs Man City: Squawka Says
Scoreline prediction: Atletico Madrid 0-1 Man City
05 Apr 2022 – Man City 1-0 Atletico Madrid – Champions League
It was a systematic yet subtle slaughter from City, who remained camped out in and around the Atleti box, but just couldn’t break them down on a consistent enough basis to hand themselves a more comfortable cushion heading into this second leg. The eventual goal came through Kevin De Bruyne in the 70th minute.