Diego Simeone hailed Atletico Madrid’s battling spirit after they knocked holders Barcelona out of the Champions League on Wednesday.
The Atletico supporters created a fervent atmosphere at Vicente Calderon and the noise at kick-off spurred the hosts into a strong start, with Gabi Fernandez blazing over and Yannick Ferreira Carrasco and Antoine Griezmann testing Barca keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
Atletico took the lead in the tie on away goals when Saul Niguez carved out a cross with the outside of his boot towards Griezmann who headed into the top corner.
The Frenchman then added a second from the penalty spot as Atleti secured a 3-2 aggregate victory over Barca, booking their spot alongside Bayern Munich, Man City and Real Madrid in the last four.
“We never stopped believing, we never give up what we want to do,” Simeone said.
“It was lovely to watch from the touchline. These moments won’t come back because they are unique in football.”
After Griezmann doubled the lead, Barcelona still had two minutes plus stoppage time to find a goal that would have forced extra time and Lionel Messi nearly conjured a late leveller but sent a free kick over the bar.
“We were playing against one of the best teams in the world and we did ourselves proud, now we’re in the semi finals, among the top four teams in Europe,” Griezmann said.
“Our fans support us in every home game and push us to produce performances like tonight’s. This game belongs to them too.”