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Diego Simeone left thrilled by his Atletico Madrid's fighting spirit

By Robert Jones

Published 05/05/2016

Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone
Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone

Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone hailed the "huge mettle" of his team as they look forward to a Champions League final date with city rivals Real.

Bayern won 2-1 in Bavaria on Tuesday night but Antoine Griezmann's away goal for the Spanish side took them through to the final - which will be a repeat of the 2014 decider - and Atletico's boss will be demanding the same spirit his players showed in Germany this week.

"It was a fantastic first half from Bayern," said Simeone. "The second half was more even. We went out very well in the counter-attack that resulted in the goal and that allowed us to have an advantage."

Thomas Muller missed a spot-kick for the hosts before Fernando Torres did likewise for Atletico and Simeone said: "A missed penalty always implies several things.

"Their penalty would have put them 2-0 ahead and made things very difficult for us. And later, with eight minutes to go until the end, it would have turned things around.

"But the boys showed huge mettle at the end of the match. We go through to the final very happy."

Bayern boss Pep Guardiola saw his team maintain their winning run at home in the Champions League thanks to goals from Xabi Alonso and Robert Lewandowski - but was disappointed to exit at the semi-final stage again.

The Manchester City-bound Spaniard said: "I gave my life for this team, I fought and did my best. We played as we wanted to play but we came up one goal short. I'm sorry, especially for the players."

Defender Philipp Lahm added: "Atletico punished us on the break. We tried everything but unfortunately it wasn't enough.

"It's a pity we haven't rewarded ourselves and the coach for the last three years."

Belfast Telegraph

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