Atletico Madrid hero Saul Niguez hails ‘most important’ goal of career – ESPN FC

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A stunning individual goal from Saul sees Atletico Madrid take a one-goal lead in their UEFA Champions League semi-final tie with Bayern Munich heading to Germany.
Saul’s brilliant individual effort gave Atletico a vital 1-0 first leg advantage over Bayern in the UCL semifinals.
Jan Oblak says Atletico Madrid still have work to do if they want to make the Champions League Final.

Atletico Madrid match-winner Saul Niguez called his superb solo goal the most important and beautiful of his career when speaking after Wednesday evening’s 1-0 Champions League semifinal first leg victory at home against Bayern Munich.

Homegrown midfielder Saul scored a superb solo goal on just 11 minutes, dribbling past five Bayern players before curling coolly into the net. He also put in a hard-working performance amid a typically well-drilled Atletico defensive performance.

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The result makes Atletico favourites to make a second UCL final in three years, ahead of next Tuesday’s second leg at Bayern’s Allianz Arena.

Speaking on Spanish TV following the full-time whistle, the boyhood Atletico fan described how he had sliced through the Bayern defence before keeping his composure to beat Manuel Neuer from 15 yards.

“I was dribbling with the ball and always had my eye on the goal,” Saul said. “I saw that I’d got by two opponents so when I got into the area I thought about getting it onto my stronger foot. Because it was on my left I placed it. It’s the most important goal of my career for sure, and it could be the most beautiful too.”

Saul said that Pep Guardiola’s Bayern had made life difficult for Atletico, before claiming that the focus now moved immediately to their La Liga challenge and Saturday’s home game against Rayo Vallecano.

Saul’s sensational solo effort made the difference on Wednesday.

“They’re a good opponent, and succeeded in pinning us back,” Saul said. “We have to say thanks to all the fans that have given us great energy to keep running. There [Munich] it will be very difficult but now we need to think about the next Liga game, against Rayo, which is very important.”

Also on Spanish TV, Atletico Madrid striker Fernando Torres hailed the contribution of his young teammate, saying the early goal had allowed the team to play the first leg on their terms.

“What Saul did was spectacular, a great first half and a ‘golazo’ which gave us the chance to play the game that we wanted to play,” Torres said. “It was a fantastic victory, a great day for all Atleticos. We have only played the first half of the tie, and we have the result in favour. Now we must think about what is to come.”

Torres did most of his work closing down Bayern’s midfielders on defence, but hit the post late on after a lightning Atletico counterattack.

“It was a pity, we could have gone there with a better advantage for the return game,” Torres said. “But we must keep on doing what we do. To suffer and to keep suffering, fighting, battling, against a great team like Bayern, showing our pride and our will to win.”

Another lifelong Atletico fan, Torres did his interview while a celebrating Vicente Calderon stadium had been chanting the name of much-loved ex-Liverpool player, as well as that of coach Luis Aragones, who died in 2014.

“This is for them, after so many years,” Torres said. “It is nice to remember Luis just in this moment. We have many people that we win for. They should keep enjoying themselves, and dreaming with us.”

Atletico Madrid hero Saul Niguez hails ‘most important’ goal of career – ESPN FC