Felix, Atletico’s record signing, was shown a yellow card for striking Unai Vencedor in the 78th minute and the Portuguese reacted to the decision by shouting at the referee, who instantly produced a second card and sent him off.
Felix had only been on the pitch for 18 minutes when he was dismissed, with Spanish media reporting the Portuguese said ‘Are you crazy?’ to match official Jesus Gil Manzano after being penalised for tangling with Vencedor as they challenged for the ball.
Diego Simeone’s side are top of the standings with 11 points from five games while Athletic, who are also unbeaten, have nine.
‘Joao was running and had no intention of hitting his opponent, I don’t know what happened next but people say things in the heat of the moment but they (referees) have to understand that when your adrenaline is running high you sometimes say things you shouldn’t,’ said Atletico defender Stefan Savic.
Atletico were fortunate to not lose the game in added time when visiting striker Asier Villalibre met a through ball from Alex Berenguer inside the area but the forward somehow spurned the glorious chance and missed the target.