Spain: Atletico Madrid’s Saul Niguez produced a goal of a lifetime, delicate yet devastating, swivelling past Bayern Munich defenders in ghost-like fashion before curling a left footer past Manuel Neuer to send the Vicente Calderón Stadium into a glorious uproar.
The goal was enough to put Atletico 1-0 up in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final between Pep Guardiola and Diego Simeone’s side.
Saul, not really known for his goal scoring prowess, darted through the Bavarian defenders making them look like absolute amateurs to put the Spaniards in the driving seat and Bayern staring at their third consecutive exit in Champions League.
What followed, was a flurry of attacks by Bayern, who finished with a whopping 69 percent possession. Their best chance, however, was in the 54th minute when David Alaba unleashed a cannon 30-yards out only to find the crossbar.
Bayern had other chances too, but never came close to dismantling Atletico’s compact defence enough to find the net.
Knowing Atleti’s defence, it is a mammoth task to put them on the back foot once they take a lead, and that is exactly what Bayern could not do. Torres had a chance to make it 2-0 in the second half but a bunch of Bayern defenders hurried the former Liverpool striker into launching one over the top.
Simeone’s men will now travel to the Allianz Arena next week with a lead that could well be the difference between an exit and a spot in the Champions League 2016 final.
Pep Guardiola has little time to find a way past the stubborn Atletico defence who walk in next week into Bayern’s den with a little cushion. If the Catalonian tactician hopes to break his Champions League at Bayern, his army will need to finish with 2-0. A draw will only make Simeone’s life simpler. And brighter.