Saul sinks Bayern in CL Semi


April 28, 2016
Atletico's Saul (right) celebrates with team-mates Koke and Antoine Griezmann (left) after scoring his side's opening goal during the Champions League 1st leg semi-final against Bayern Munich at the Vicente Calderon stadium in Madrid, Spain, last week. Atletico Madrid won 1-0.


An early goal by youngster Saul Niguez gave Atletico Madrid a gritty 1-0 victory over Bayern Munich in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final yesterday.

The 21-year-old Niguez cleared three defenders before entering the area and hit a low, well-placed shot into the far corner in the 11th minute. Diego Simeone's tough defence then took over and Atletico held on for an important victory at the Vicente Calderon Stadium.

A draw next week in Germany will be enough for Simeone's side to reach the final for the second time in the last three seasons.

"It's still wide open," Simeone said. "The return game should be just as exciting for everyone watching it. It will be a difficult challenge against a very strong team."

Pep Guardiola's Bayern, trying to reach the final for the first time since winning the title in 2013, came close to equalising with a long-range shot by David Alaba in the 54th, but the ball struck the crossbar with Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak already beaten.

Striker Fernando Torres could have increased Atletico's advantage in the 75th, but he also struck the woodwork after a breakaway.

"It was a fantastic night and I'm happy for all Atletico supporters," Torres said. "We've got what we wanted, which was to get the scoreline in our favour ahead of the second leg."

Real Madrid and Manchester City drew 0-0 in their first-leg match in England on Tuesday.

Wednesday's draw ended Bayern's 11-game unbeaten streak, and kept the German side winless in their last eight knockout games away from home.

"We had a slow start," Guardiola said. "We have to play at a different pace in the second leg. Their goal was brilliant, but it came from our mistake - we kept standing off him. I'm not happy with how we played. If we let them run and win fouls, it will be hard. It's not a good result."

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