A swerve here and a dribble there, a shift to the left and a curl that was deft set Atletico Madrid on their way to a 1-0 victory over Bayern Munich in the Champions League first leg semifinal. Saul Niguez was the man to score one of the best goals of the season to give the home team the advantage going into the second leg in Munich next week.
Pep Guardiola and his Bayern Munich team just did not have an answer to Atletico Madrid's fast start at a buzzing Vicente Calderon, where plenty of shots rained in early, before the best of them all left Bayern needing a superlative performance on their home turf to stay in the Champions League and move into the final.
Saul's goal was as good a goal as you could have hoped for to settle a match as big as this. Controlling a long ball near the centre- line, Saul strode forward with Thiago Alcantara, making it quite clear to Mark Clattenburg that he was not impeding the Atletico Madrid midfielder, following close by. Once Thiago was left behind, it was the turn of Xabi Alonso and Juan Bernat, the former to Saul's left and the latter from the right, to put a stop to a run that, still, did not look dangerous by any means.
However, with the flick of a switch, Saul's pace increased, seeing him dribble past Alonso and Bernat with ridiculous ease, leaving him with David Alaba to negotiate inside the penalty area. All the Atletico Madrid man did was shift the ball to his left foot and curl in a gorgeous strike off the inside of the post to leave Manuel Neuer and the rest of Bayern Munich gasping.
The celebrations that followed from Atletico Madrid said it all, and you knew from there on, it was all going to be about the Diego Simeone-drilled defence. For all of Bayern Munich's possession, they never really quite looked threatening enough, and when the Atletico Madrid defence was just about beaten, there was Jan Oblak to make the necessary saves or strong punches to deny Bayern.
Pep Guardiola will know his team will have to play a lot, lot better if his dream of lifting the European title with Bayern is to remain. Atletico will go into the Allianz Arena next Tuesday confident their defence will hold up again, while looking for another moment of magic, be that from Saul, Antoine Griezmann or Fernando Torres.