MADRID: Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez became one of Europe’s most significant midfielders by scoring a beautiful individual goal to help Atletico Madrid to qualify for their second Champions League final in three years.
Midfielder 21-year-old make his way past Bayern Munich’s Thiago Alcantara and then skipped away from Xabi Alonso and Juan Bernat before taking on David Alaba and producing a delightful curled finish which sealed a 1-0 semi-final first leg win for Atletico on Wednesday.
It’s the most important goal of my career for sure, and it could be the most beautiful too.
I was dribbling the ball; 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, and because it was on my left, I placed it (the finish).
Atletico also hadn’t created much when Niguez scored to ignite the crowd of more than 50,000 fans at the Calderon.
The midfielder left three defenders behind outside the area before moving into the box and clearing another one before calmly firing a left-foot shot past Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer. The ball struck the far post before going in.
“It was the most important goal of my career and probably the most beautiful one as well,” Niguez said.
France striker Antoine Griezmann, who scored twice when Atletico eliminated Barcelona in the quarterfinals, almost increased the lead from close range on the 30th – but Neuer made a great save with his left foot.
It was Atletico’s 25th win in 30 European games at the Vicente Calderon.
Simeone’s team hasn’t lost at home in 10 straight games, winning eight.
Atletico has kept a clean sheet in 14 of its last 16 Champions League games at home.