Uefa’s disciplinary panel is set to launch an investigation into Wednesday night’s chaotic tunnel bust-up between Manchester City and Atlético Madrid. It comes as new footage emerged from the incident of players confronting each other as they left the pitch.
Tempers flared in the last few minutes of the match at the Wanda Metropolitano as the Atlético players lost their heads, frustrated at what they perceived as City’s timewasting and gamesmanship.
Footage from inside the tunnel – shown on TV – appeared to show Atlético’s defender Sime Vrsaljko hurling an object at City players and spitting at City staff. That took place after Stefan Savic and Jack Grealish confronted each other as police rushed in to intervene.
Fresh footage taken by fans as the players entered the tunnel also seems to show Kyle Walker pushing David Lora, the Atlético physio, before Vrsaljko confronts Walker and Liam Delap. City’s 18-year-old midfielder Roméo Lavia then says something to Vrsaljko.
Uefa Control, Ethics, and Disciplinary Body will also examine what happened after Felipe committed the foul on Phil Foden for which he was sent off as City clung on for a goalless draw to reach the Champions League semi-finals with a 1-0 aggregate victory . Savic appeared to pull at Grealish’s hair – after being sworn at by the England international – and direct a butt at Raheem Sterling.
Uefa is awaiting the referee’s report on the match but sources say it is examining footage and could launch an investigation into the incident in the next 48 hours. It is expected to appoint a disciplinary inspector once the relevant reports have arrived.
It follows an investigation into similar scenes that marred the first leg of Bodø/Glimt’s Uefa Conference League quarter-final against Roma last Thursday. This week, Uefa provisionally suspended Bodø/Glimt’s head coach, Kjetil Knutsen, and the Roma goalkeeping coach, Nuno Santos, and they will miss Thursday’s return leg.
Both men are under investigation for “conduct (which) is insulting or otherwise violates the basic rules of decent conduct” and face suspensions of up to five Uefa competition matches if found guilty.
Koke, Atlético’s captain, accused City of “falling on the floor and wasting time” during the second half. “Lots of the time we get criticized for this situation, and now let’s see what people think of this,” he said. “You’ve seen it, you can express an opinion.”
The City midfielder Rodri countered: “Everything is licit in football. We tried to play. It’s true that in the end, because of the quality of your opponent, we were boxed in and when there are five or 10 minutes left you play with that weapon [timewasting]. I am not in favor of doing it the rest of the time, but in the end sometimes it happens.”
Atlético’s president, Enrique Cerezo, has said City played prehistoric football, a response to Pep Guardiola’s comment after the first leg that “ever since prehistory” it has been hard to face a team that defends very deep with two lines of five.
“In the end it has been shown that everyone has their prehistory,” Cerezo told Radio Marca. “We played a good game, attacking, and City yesterday played prehistory, defending and put a wall in front of their goal so they wouldn’t score. Everybody has seen it. City was a completely defensive team. In the second half they shot on goal eleven.”
Kevin De Bruyne is awaiting an examination to ascertain the extent of the ankle injury that forced him off on Wednesday. The midfielder, who twisted the ankle in Sunday’s 2-2 draw with Liverpool, was able to walk relatively freely after the match and is hopeful the problem will not keep him out for too long, meaning he should be back for the first leg of the semi-final at home to Real Madrid on Tuesday week. He is expected to miss Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool. City are also awaiting a diagnosis of Kyle Walker’s ankle injury, also sustained at Atlético.