Diego Simeone lauded the individual brilliance of Saul Niguez after the midfielder struck the decisive goal in Atletico Madrid’s 1-0 victory over FC Bayern München in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final.
Spain Under-21 international Niguez scored after only nine minutes of the tie at the Vicente Calderon, slaloming past Bayern defenders before producing a superb, composed finish past Manuel Neuer.
And while the German outfit pressed in the second half, Atletico held on to take a crucial lead into next week’s second leg, leading Simeone to hail his matchwinner.
“It was a great piece of individual skill with creativity. He’s a player that is developing really well and that’s great for us,” the manager told BT Europe.
“You always want to score, but goals can come at any stage. We had a key chance in the second half.
“I think the first half was much closer to what we wanted. We got in front, we felt comfortable.
“In the second half they (Bayern) were better, they had lots of possession and they got in behind us. We defended well but it was a different game in the second half.”
Despite recording their fifth consecutive clean sheet, Simeone remains wary about his team’s prospects against a Bayern side brimming with quality.
“It’s an open tie. Playing in Munich means they’ll have their fans behind them and home advantage. But we have a chance to get an away goal,” he added.
“It’ll be a close game like today’s and we’ll see who makes the most of their chances.”