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Early Saul strike hands Atleti advantage

Date published: Wednesday, 27th April 2016

Saul Niguez celebrates his goal for Atletico

Saul Niguez's early goal was all that Atletico Madrid needed to secure victory at home in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final clash against Bayern Munich.

The young midfielder netted after 10 minutes, and Diego Simeone's men held on, defending excellently against a Bayern team who failed to turn their possession into goals.

Atletico started the game pressing high up the pitch, refusing to allow the German's to settle with possession, and it was Simeone's men who registered the first attempt on target.

Fernando Torres broke into the box from the right-wing, but after cutting onto his left foot, he could only hit the ball weakly into Manuel Neuer's arms.

However, it was a sign of things to come, and the La Liga club refused to allow Bayern into the game.

And it was Atleti who took the lead, Saul netting a strike worth of any top game.

Picking up the ball in the midfield, he had few options, and decided to move forward with possession.

He dribbled through two Bayern players, taking a lovely touch to remove them from the play, before breakinng into the box.

The 21-year-old then cut onto his left foot, and his low curling attempt nestled in the far corner.

It was a well deserved goal, and Bayern never really troubled Jan Oblak as they searched for an equaliser in the remaining 35 minutes of the first half.

Douglas Costa hit a free-kick to the near post which almost caught the Slovenian goalkeeper out, but the ball sailed wide, and Philipp Lahm had a long-range attempted blocked in the penalty area.

Despite Bayern growing into the game, Atleti should have doubled their lead, but Antoine Griezmann was thwarted by Neuer after a powerful run into the box.

The visitors were starting to dominate the ball, and the second half started with Guardiola's team pressing for a clear chance on goal.

And they started to rack up attempts on Oblak's goal as the period wore on.

David Alaba's 40-yard attempt smashed against the bar, whilst Javi Martínez and Arturo Vidal also had chances which were well saved by the impressive keeper.

Torres came close to adding a second for Atleti, curling an attempt with the outside of his right foot onto the far post after a great counter attack, but it was a rare foray into the Bayern half for the hosts.

Vidal had another late attempt as Bayern kept pressing for a goal, but the Atleti defence held firm, and managed to kep their eighth clean sheet in just 11 Champions League outings this season.

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