The Spanish media have bizarrely refused to condemn Atletico Madrid’s shocking behaviour at the end of their match with Manchester City.
Wednesday night’s second leg at the Wanda Metropolitano descended into chaos moments before City claimed a hard-fought goalless draw to reach the semi-finals with a 1-0 aggregate success.
The two sets of players clashed following a poor tackle from Felipe on Phil Foden, which then caused tempers to flare.
The Spanish press refused to condemn Atletico Madrid’s behaviour vs Man City, with Marca claiming Simeone’s men showed ‘heart without reward’ while AS said there was ‘little left’
Stefan Savic (second right) instigated disgraceful scenes at the end of the Champions League match, where he appeared to headbutt Raheem Sterling (centre)
Felipe’s hack left the forward in a heap which then saw Stefan Savic lose his head as he dragged the forward back on to the pitch before appearing to headbutt Raheem Sterling.
Savic then took his frustrations out on Jack Grealish, with the pair exchanging words during that brawl before the former City defender was seen pulling the England international’s hair – but the hostility escalated in the tunnel.
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.
Four local policemen, dressed in riot gear, rushed down towards the dressing rooms on a shameful night for the Spanish champions.
The Montenegrin defender somehow escaped a red card for his actions against Sterling, before he pulled the hair of City player Jack Grealish as the two sides were involved in a fracas
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
The controversy at the Wanda Metropolitano didn’t end on the pitch after Pep Guardiola was showered by bottles raining from the stands as he ran down the tunnel.
However, Thursday morning’s front pages in Spain made little to no mention of the despicable actions of the Atletico players, instead choosing to focus on the team’s on-pitch performance, claiming Atletico were hard done by.
Marca ran with the headline, ‘heart without reward’ with a picture of Savic appearing to headbutt Sterling, which followed with the tagline ‘Atletico tried until the end against a City side that did not play for anything’.
In smaller text underneath this, Marca then briefly referenced the brawl in the tunnel as a ‘mess’.
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
Spanish newspaper AS followed suit, with their headline reading ‘There was very little left’ while showing a picture of Savic missing a chance to score.
Their tagline read: ‘A great Atletico is one step away from forcing extra time against a shrunken City.’
Mundo Deportivo and Sport, which are both based in Barcelona, instead decided to focus on Barcelona’s Europa League second leg with Frankfurt, briefly mentioning the Atletico result.
Pep Guardiola was asked on BT Sport whether Atletico had ‘gone too far’ on the night, but the Manchester City manager replied: ‘Nothing to say’.
Pundits on the channel were less reserved, with Rio Ferdinand calling both Felipe and Savic ’embarrassing’ for their behaviour.
Mundo Deportivo and Sport focused on Barcelona’s upcoming Europa League tie instead
Owen Hargreaves and Joleon Lescott expressed surprise that VAR had not alerted the referee to Savic’s actions in the melee.
‘It’s not hard to see that when it’s your only job to see that,’ Lescott said. ‘He’s head-butted someone, he’s pulled someone’s hair. Not in the space of 90 minutes but in the space of 90 seconds.
‘I don’t understand what VAR is there for if not to correct that decision.’
Hargreaves added: ‘Savic is delighted with the yellow card. He’s thinking, ‘I’ll take that’. I think the emotional control of the City players through the whole bit of chaos was brilliant.’
Ferdinand said: ‘You have to commend the way City dealt with that situation. It’s difficult in those moments.
Rio Ferdinand has led pundits in condemning Atletico Madrid’s actions on Tuesday evening
‘Forget the crowd, those moments when you’re trying to get to the end and you’re being antagonised, you’ve got someone in front of you poking, poking, poking you all the time. They’ve managed to come away without anyone getting too involved.
‘We heard about something after the game but the game is finished then. For Phil Foden and Raheem Sterling especially – Phil is a young boy and it’s a good experience for him in some ways.’
Hargreaves credited Guardiola for the composure shown by City’s players.
‘I think it comes from Pep,’ he said. ‘I think if it’s not Pep managing them someone would have snapped but I’m sure he’s said to them we cannot afford to get a red card. All of those players behaved.
‘I think if it was someone in one of our teams they’d have bit back but Pep has told them all the fine details.’