Madrid - A sensational solo effort from Saul Niguez handed Atletico Madrid a
precious 1-0 advantage over Bayern Munich from the first leg of their
Champions League semi-final at the Vicente Calderon on Wednesday.
Spanish under-21 international skipped past four Bayern players before
firing into the far corner to give Atletico the perfect start after 11
Bayern dominated for long spells thereafter, but the
closest they came to a vital away goal was a thunderous long-range
effort from David Alaba that came back off the crossbar.
will travel to Bavaria for the return next Tuesday looking to complete
the job to reach their second final in three years and exact revenge for
their defeat to Bayern in the 1974 final.
"It is a fantastic victory, it is a great day for Atletico fans," Fernando Torres told BeIN Sports Spain.
"We have played the first half of the tie with the result in our favour and now we have to think about what is to come."
lost the first legs of their semi-finals in the previous two seasons to
Real Madrid and Barcelona on their way out of the competition and
captain Philipp Lahm lamented their inability to score an away goal in
"We didn't think we'd have so many chances to score in the second half as we did, but we didn't use them," Lahm told ZDF.
have to use them in games like this, but we still have 90 minutes to
come with the fans behind us to try and turn the game around."
couldn't have made a worse start once more in the Spanish capital as,
roared on by a vociferous support, Atletico flew out of the blocks early
Niguez had already had a long-range effort saved by Manuel Neuer before he opened the scoring in stunning style.
21-year-old picked the ball up near halfway and skipped past four
half-hearted Bayern challenges before curling a left-footed shot in off
the inside of the far post.
Atletico nearly gifted Bayern an
equaliser immediately as Jose Maria Gimenez's miscued clearance
pinballed around the area before the Uruguayan atoned for his initial
error by clearing off the line.
Bayern were dominant in
possession, but struggled to create clear-cut chances against an
Atletico side that now hasn't conceded at home in their last seven
Champions League knockout ties.
Alaba shot wide from distance, while Douglas Costa's free-kick nearly caught out Jan Oblak at his near post.
it was Atletico who squandered a big chance to make it 2-0 before the
break when Antoine Griezmann's shot from a narrow angle was turned
behind by Neuer.
Bayern were completely dominant after the break as Atletico tired and dropped deeper towards their own goal.
smashed a wonder strike off the underside of the bar from fully 35
yards before Javi Martinez's powerful header from Costa's corner was
gratefully grasped by Oblak low to his right.
Guardiola had controversially left Thomas Mueller on the bench despite his 31 goals in all competitions this season.
future Manchester City boss eventually called upon the German World Cup
winner and Franck Ribery in search of a vital away goal.
Costa came close again seconds after Mueller's arrival as his attempted lob over Oblak dipped just over the bar.
Oblak was called into action again to parry an Arturo Vidal piledriver from distance.
once more Atletico had the best chance to put the tie beyond the German
champions in the final stages as Torres hit the post from Griezmann's
fine through ball and Neuer saved Koke's follow-up effort.
made simple saves from Mehdi Benatia and Vidal in stoppage time as
Atletico held out to record their 33rd clean sheet of the season.