Atletico Madrid are known for traditionally being defensive-minded, but Diego Simeone’s side took that to a whole new level in Tuesday’s Champions League loss to Manchester City.
As expected, Simeone’s side were set up to frustrate Pep Guardiola’s Man City who, as usual, looked to dominate the ball, which they did en route to a 1-0 win.
Atleti were initially effective in neutralizing City, preventing them from getting many chances, but they also failed to register a single shot of their own in the first half for the first time since such data began to be collected in 2003-04, before going on to not have one effort in the entire match.
A shotless match
Atletico at first limited Manchester City, with the two sides combining for just 0.18 expected goals between them in the first half.
Man City accounted for the entirety of that number, with none of their six shots finding the target.
They did enjoy 73 per cent of the possession, but struggled to make it count against Atleti’s low defensive block.
In the second half, City found the breakthrough, Kevin de Bruyne beating Jan Oblak after 70 minutes as he finished from Phil Foden’s fine pass.
That moment of magic was all City needed, as they sealed a 1-0 win at home that puts them in a good place headed into the second leg next week.
Atleti meanwhile will need to wait for that second leg to register their first shot, as they became just the fourth team to fail to register a shot in a Champions League match since data collection began.
They’re the first since APOEL faced Real Madrid in 2012 and, interestingly, the other three instances have now come against teams managed by Guardiola, as the manager’s ball-dominant system continues to prove effective defensively.
The other two instances involving Guardiola came back in 2011 during his time with Barca as his side held Viktoria Plzen shotless in October after Arsenal were frustrated that prior March.