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Champions League: No excuses as Atlético Madrid waste another title chance

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When the trail to the elusive Champions League title appeared the simplest, Atlético’s run led to a loss to a younger Leipzig 2-1 on Thursday within the quarterfinals.

This time there are not any excuses for Atlético Madrid.

No unfortunate break, no outdated nemesis, no high-profile opponent. Diego Simeone’s workforce simply couldn’t get it achieved.

When the trail to the elusive Champions League title appeared the simplest, Atlético’s run led to a loss to a younger Leipzig 2-1 on Thursday within the quarterfinals.

“No excuses,” Simeone stated. “I appreciated the best way our opponent performed. It performed decisively, with a variety of enthusiasm and freshness. It made issues tough for us.

“They beat us within the duels, within the fouls, in understanding the sport. We gave all the pieces we had however it wasn’t sufficient. We must congratulate our opponent. We couldn’t play the best way we needed to.”

The defeat in Lisbon instantly sparked criticism again house, with some questioning whether or not Simeone’s time with Atlético might have come to an finish.

Club president Enrique Cerezo got here out defending the coach regardless of acknowledging followers had not been anticipating the setback at this stage.

“Those who contest his lineups should buy their own club and pick the players themselves,” Cerezo instructed Spanish media. “We had a very good season. We finished in the top three in the Spanish league and reached the quarterfinals in the Champions League, which is no small feat.”

Atlético was attempting to make it to the semifinals for the primary time since 2017, a 12 months after it misplaced its second remaining in three seasons.

It appeared like this might lastly be the 12 months for the Spanish membership. It knocked out defending champion Liverpool within the final 16 and prevented a powerhouse within the spherical of 16, and outdated foes Real Madrid and Cristiano Ronaldo — chargeable for most of Atlético’s latest eliminations — have been out of the match.

Real Madrid defeated Atlético within the Champions League 4 consecutive occasions from 2014-17 — twice within the remaining and in addition within the quarterfinals and semifinals. Atlético misplaced to Ronaldo’s Juventus within the spherical of 16 final season.

Atlético was unbeaten in 11 matches after the pandemic break and was essentially the most skilled workforce on this 12 months’s match apart from former champions Barcelona and Bayern Munich, which play in opposition to one another on Friday.

Leipzig, based solely 11 years in the past, had been enjoying nicely however was weakened by the departure of high scorer Timo Werner.

It all favored Atlético, however Simeone’s workforce could not capitalize on its chance. Leipzig beat them with an 88th-minute purpose by American midfielder Tyler Adams.

Some criticized Simeone for not beginning João Félix, the younger Portuguese star who scored their lone purpose in opposition to Leipzig after coming off the bench.

Félix arrived this season as a file signing from Benfica to switch Antoine Griezmann, as the membership misplaced veterans such as Diego Godín and Filipe Luis in its greatest shakeup since 2011 when Simeone took cost.

“Of course we could have done better, but we gave everything we had,” stated Simeone, including he was already wanting ahead to preparing for another “tough” season forward.

“We have to remain calm,” Cerezo stated. “I nonetheless assume we’ve a great workforce. It simply wasn’t our evening.”

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