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CL: Saul’s Brilliance Gives Atletico The Advantage

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Credit: Goal.com

Atletico Madrid are a step closer to their second UEFA Champions League finals in three years after a 1-0 first leg win over Bayern Munich at the Vicente Calderon on Wednesday.

A sensational solo effort from Saul Niguez leaves Guardiola’s side needing a huge performance next week in Munich to prevent a third consecutive Champions League exit at the hands of s Spanish team.

Bayern 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.

The 21-year-old skipped past four Bayern players before firing into the far corner to give Atletico the perfect start after 11 minutes.
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The visitors dominated for long spells thereafter with over 65-percent of possession, 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, while Fernando Torres was denied by a post as Atletico sought a greater cushion.

It was a bad night for the German Champions, with their coach Pep Guardiola who protested after the game that his team played well and created chances.

The Spaniard, who will be coaching Manchester City next season is however optimistic his side can reverse that the result in the return leg.

“It is not a great result for us. It is always unpleasant to have not scored an away goal, but we still have 90 minutes,” said Guardiola.

“We played very well and had enough goal chances, so I am pleased with the performance.

“We have to play more intelligently in the return match, we need patience and we only need a goal to take the game to extra time.”

However, Atletico boss Diego Simeone refused to get carried away with the result.

He said: “The result gives us the possibility to play in Munich in a fantastic stadium with a chance.

“The first-half was closer to what we wanted and the second-half was much closer to what they wanted from the start.”

Atletico will travel to Bavaria for the return next Tuesday as Diego Simeone’s side will be looking to exact revenge for their defeat to Bayern in the 1974 final.