28 Apr 2016

Atletico take advantage over Bayern

9:19 am on 28 April 2016

A breathtaking individual goal from Saul Niguez gave Atletico Madrid a 1-0 win over Bayern Munich in a tense Champions League semi-final, first leg in Spain.

Saul Níguez celebrates after scoring.

Saul Níguez celebrates after scoring. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The midfielder cut his way through and around the Bayern defence before producing a low finish that went in off the post to put the home side in front after 11 minutes.

Atletico forward Fernando Torres was inches away from grabbing a late second when his shot hit the post, while Bayern's David Alaba also hit the woodwork with a thumping drive.

The result left Pep Guardiola's Bayern side facing a huge task in Munich next week to avoid a third successive semi-final exit.

"We've got what we wanted which was to get the scoreline in our favour and now we await the second leg," said Atletico striker Torres.

"We suffered and kept suffering, kept fighting, that's what we do. Bayern have a level few teams have but we kept on doing our thing."

Atletico made an intense start in the first competitive meeting between the two sides since Bayern beat the Spaniards 4-0 in the 1974 European Cup final replay.

Saul drove them in front with a sensational run from the right, snaking inside and beating three players before fending off two more and bending the ball in off the far post with a flick of his left boot.

Bayern nearly equalised moments later when Arturo Vidal's looping header beat Atletico keeper Jan Oblak, but Jose Gimenez rose to head the ball off the line.

Diego Simeone's superbly-drilled side might have added another before the break when Antoine Griezmann bore down on goal before the Frenchman's near-post shot was kicked away by Bayern keeper Manuel Neuer.

Bayern were more incisive in the second half. Alaba smashed the underside of the crossbar from 30 metres, and then Martinez escaped his marker at a corner but could only glance the ball into the hands of Oblak.

Atletico soon regained control, leaving Bayern to try their luck from distance. Douglas Costa blasted over from 30 metres, and Vidal tried to surprise Oblak from range, but the Slovenian got across in time to parry.

Atletico almost doubled their lead with their only real chance of the second half.

Torres stormed into the box, took on a defender and tried to hook the ball into the far corner, hitting the post before Koke's effort on the rebound was caught by Neuer.