Simeone's pride after Copa del Rey exit

By Russell Greaves 8 February 2017
Simeone's pride after Copa del Rey exit

Diego Simeone expressed pride at Atletico Madrid's performance in a dramatic 1-1 draw with Barcelona at Camp Nou, which was not enough to avoid an aggregate loss in Tuesday's Copa del Rey semi-final.

The visitors fell behind to Luis Suarez's 43rd-minute goal against the run of play, but after Sergi Roberto and Yannick Carrasco had seen red, Kevin Gameiro atoned for his penalty miss by netting a late leveller on the night.

Suarez became the third man to pick up a second booking as the holders ended with nine men, though Atletico could not force the tie to extra time.

"Throughout the match I saw options," said Simeone. "We had chances to score, pressed well and sought to do harm. 

"I leave with a sense of pride. The team showed soul and the heart. We played with heat and passion. 

"We had to be eliminated, but we can hold our head high. When one falls in this way it is something important within the team. It is not easy to recover, but we always recompose to compete again. I'm proud.

"I leave with a lot of positive things. Hopefully this is an important step for the remainder of the season."

Atletico return to LaLiga action when Celta Vigo – who play Alaves in the second semi-final on Wednesday, with the tie goalless on aggregate – visit this weekend.

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Russell Greaves

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