Champions League semis: Saul gives Atletico 1-0 lead against Bayern

Madrid, April 28 (IANS) An early goal from midfielder Saul Niguez gave Atletico Madrid a slender but possibly decisive lead as the Spanish football side produced a typically solid defensive display to take a 1-0 lead against Bayern Munich in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final.

Saul put Atletico ahead in an thrilling semi-final with a stunning individual goal after just 11 minutes here on Wednesday. The midfielder, who has got better and better as the season has progressed, produced a stunning run to beat several defenders before curling the ball past Manuel Neuer to send the fans at the Vincente Calderon Stadium wild, reports Xinhua.

Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak had to be attentive just a minute later, however, as Bayern’s Peter Lewandowski threatened and Jose Gimenez headed a goal-bound effort off the Atletico line.

Bayern’s Douglas Costa curled a free kick into the Atletico side netting midway through the half, but although The German side were threatening and controlling the ball, Antoine Griezmann served a warning of Atletico’s danger on the break when he forced a sharp save from Neuer on the break.

Bayern began the second half looking to get back on level terms and David Alaba was unlucky not to score after smashing the ball against the Atletico crossbar from 30 yards on 54 minutes, before Javi Martinez forced a fine low save from Oblak with a header from a corner two minutes later.

Bayern were pushing Atletico back but the Spanish side was showing its traditional defensive toughness with every ball contested to the limit by both sides

Bayern coach Pep Guardiola brought on Frank Ribery and Thomas Muller to add punch in attack and saw how Oblak parried from Alex Vidal before Fernando Torres hit the post in a typical Atletico break.

It was thrilling stuff which got tenser as the game went into the closing minutes as Atletico tried to waste as much time as possible to the evident frustration of the Bayern players who saw three yellow cards as the clock ticked down.

–IANS

sam/vm

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