Saul Niguez’s superb individual effort gave Atletico Madrid a vital 1-0 win going into their Champions League semi-final second leg against Bayern Munich today at home in Spain.
As they look to reach the final for a second time in three seasons, Atletico took the lead early on at the Vicente Calderon through Saul’s fine run and finish, before Antoine Griezmann came close to a second, only to be denied by Manuel Neuer’s save.
More of the chances fell to Bayern in the second half as David Alaba hit the bar from 40 yards out and Jan Oblak saved well from an Arturo Vidal effort, while Atletico’s Fernando Torres saw his effort hit the post with 15 minutes remaining.
Atletico –– for so many years in the shadow of illustrious neighbours Real Madrid –– have never been crowned European champions, twice losing in the final of the continent’s leading club competition.
Under coach Diego Simeone, Los Rojiblancos have emerged as serious challengers to Spain’s regular duopoly of Barcelona and Real Madrid and have now put themselves in a decent position to create history by winning the Champions League.
But with Bayern boasting a remarkable home record of only one defeat in 24 matches, the tie is far from over. The two sides meet again on Tuesday in Munich where Bayern will be looking to reach a fourth final in seven seasons.