After an exquisite performance at the Calderon on Wednesday night, Atlético Madrid boosted their Champions League hopes with a 1-0 first leg win against Bayern Munich in the semi-finals of the competition.
Tactical excellence stuns Munich
Bayern went into the game as favourites, but were stunned, as we all were, by a mesmerising solo goal from Saul Niguez. The goal came early in the game, as the young winger showcased his outstanding levels of balance and skill as he danced through the Bayern midfield, before showing his composure and slotting the ball home past the daunting presence of Manuel Neuer in goal.
Bayern became understandably frustrated as the game went on, every attack stalled by a rigid Atlético defence. The Bundesliga leaders' closest chance came as full back David Alaba hit the cross bar from 40 yards. This was the closest Pep Guardiola's side came to a goal, telling the story of the match.
Atlético also hit the wood work in the second half, as Fernando Torres almost doubled the home team's lead after a rapid counter attack left Bayern chasing.
Atlético manager Diego Simeone was beaming with pride for the goalscorer, Saul, praising the star: "Everything that is happening to Saul is is his merit for insisting and believing in himself" Praise indeed from the boss.
Saul commented on his goal, claiming it was 'for sure' his 'most important goal' for Atlético.
Simeone remained grounded after the 1-0 win, saying: "This result gives us the chance of going to Munich with possibilities." A chance indeed if a performance as solid as yesterday's can be replicated.
Bayern Munich manager, Pep Guardiola managed to remain optimistic whilst expressing his disappointment at the final result: "The result isn't good, it makes the return leg complicated." Guardiola continued; "...but the final hopes remains strong."
Munich captain, Philipp Lahm claimed that home support could inspire Bayern to turn the tie around. "We have every chance of turning the tie around at home."
It'll be the ultimate contest in the second leg, as Guardiola's final chance at winning the Champions League with Bayern hangs by a thread.