Diego Simeone: ‘Celebration came from the heart’. Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone has apologised for any offence caused by his celebrations against Juventus, but said: “I did it from the heart.” Simeone turned towards fans and grabbed his crotch after Jose Maria Gimenez opened the scoring in a 2-0 win.”It’s not a nice gesture, I admit, but I felt the need to do it,” he said. “I did it as a player at Lazio and I did it again to show our fans that we have cojones. I can only apologise if anyone was offended.” Atletico Madrid claimed a big victory over Juventus in the Champions League last 16 first leg thanks to two goals from their centre-backs at set-pieces.
Diego Simeone’s side were denied a penalty and an Alvaro Morata goal
Diego Simeone’s side were denied a penalty and an Alvaro Morata goal by the video assistant referee before they opened the scoring. Jose Maria Gimenez pounced from eight yards after Morata’s header was blocked by Mario Mandzukic. Diego Godin netted a half-volley, via a deflection off Cristiano Ronaldo. Striker Costa and midfielder Thomas Partey of Atletico Madrid and Juve left-back Alex Sandro will all miss the second leg on Tuesday, 12 March after picking up their third bookings of the tournament. Ronaldo – who is aiming to win a sixth Champions League and a fourth in a row – had Juve’s best chance as his powerful 35-yard free-kick was tipped over by Jan Oblak.
Atleti have not been at their best in La Liga this season but fully deserved a victory
Atleti have not been at their best in La Liga this season but fully deserved a victory in a game involving the teams to lose four of the past five Champions League finals. They were denied a first-half penalty, which was initially awarded when Mattia de Sciglio brought down Costa, who was making his first start since 2 December following injury. The referee overturned his decision after the VAR officials told him the offence had taken place outside the box. Atleti stepped things up in the second half and Costa missed a glorious one-on-one chance before Antoine Griezmann had a lob brilliantly tipped on to the crossbar by Wojciech Szczesny. They thought they had taken the lead when former Juve striker Morata headed home from Filipe Luis’ cross but after watching the incident again on a pitchside screen, referee Felix Zwayer ruled the Chelsea loanee had shoved Giorgio Chiellini before getting the ball. Their heads did not drop however and Morata, a second-half replacement for Costa, had a hand in the opener as his header was half-cleared by Mandzukic to Gimenez, who blasted home. Five minutes later, it was another goal by another Uruguayan central defender. Another ricochet from Mandzukic found its way to Godin, who hit an acrobatic effort from a tight angle into the back of the net. Nine of their starting line-up have played in a Champions League final for Atletico, with four playing in both 2014 and 2016. With more performances like this they could get a chance to go one better – this season’s final on 1 June is to be played at their Wanda Metropolitano home.