Saul Niguez

Liverpool
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Atletico Madrid takes first leg versus Liverpool

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Saul Niguez scored in the fourth minute and Atletico Madrid blanked and frustrated Liverpool in their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg on Tuesday in Spain.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

Liverpool had 73 percent of the ball but failed to put any of its eight shots on target, including a cherry chance for Mohamed Salah to head home an equalizer.

The sides meet again at 4 p.m. ET March 11 at Anfield.


Three things we learned

1. Mane, Salah struggle: This was a not a banner day for two of the best wingers in the world. Mohamed Salah missed one solid and one excellent chance to score an away goal, and won just 2 of 8 duels. Mane was nearly as poor, taking a silly yellow card before being removed at halftime with a 2 of 9 record in duels.

2. Lodi locks down the left: Atleti’s 21-year-old left back may’ve signed from Brazilian club Athletico Paranaense this summer, but he looks like he’s been in Diego Simeone’s system since he was an academy kid. Lodi recorded six tackles, two clearances, two interceptions, 10-of-12 duels won and a key pass.

3. The bounce goes against Liverpool: So many times this season, the Reds have seemingly willed a decisive bounce in their direction. It’s hard to fault Fabinho for a ball bounding off him and onto the path of Saul, but that’s why this match is 1-0. Just luck.

Man of the Match: Saul and Thomas Partey were terrific in the heart of Atleti’s midfield, and Saul gets our nod given his goal. He was 5-for-5 in dribbles, passed at 85 percent, won 10-of-12 duels, and had three clearances, two interceptions, and two tackles.


Atletico were all over the visitors, and an early corner got them on the board when Saul cleaned up a mess at the near post.

It was the first goal conceded by Liverpool in 379 minutes, according to the broadcast.

The Reds had almost all of the ball but had trouble with Atleti’s disciplined shape, and a Renan Lodi cross was almost enough for Alvaro Morata to make it 2-0.

Virgil Van Dijk‘s failed clearance led to an Alvaro Moarata acute-angled shot, but Alisson Becker dealt with it.

Jan Oblak gave the ball away at the other end and the ball ended up in his net, but Mohamed Salah was offside when Fabinho hit him with a quick pass.

Liverpool had another chance in the 29th minute, but Andy Robertson spun his shot wide of the frame.

Trent Alexander-Arnold served up a couple of unsuccessful corners soon after Salah screwed a quality opportunity well over the goal.

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Atleti was attacking again early in the second half, and a rare Andy Robertson error was bailed out by poor control in the final third.

Salah headed wide when Joe Gomez charged forward to send in a perfect back post cross.

Lodi then set up Morata for a glorious chance near the penalty spot. The ex-Chelsea man flubbed it in spectacular fashion.

Jordan Henderson missed another prime chance to get an away goal, as the Reds’ luck just wasn’t in Madrid.

La Liga roundup: Atletico Madrid win, go level on points with Barcelona (video)

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Atletico Madrid’s victory over Athletic Bilbao, inspired by Angel Correa’s genius, highlights La Liga’s Saturday action.

[ FOLLOW: PST’s La Liga coverage ]

Atletico Madrid 4-2 Granada

Diego Simeone took what many would consider to be a gamble prior to Saturday’s first whistle: starting Angel Correa over Diego Costa, Atletico’s goal scoring machine.

By the 64th minute, however, everyone at the Wanda Metropolitana and Simeone himself knew that the right choice was made. Correa – a low light coming into Saturday’s game – contributed the assists on both goals that handed Los Colchoneros their fifth win of the season.

Early on, it was Jan Oblak to the rescue, as Athletic’s attack cracked the home side’s backline. Specifically, the Slovenian showed off his impeccable abilities when, Iñigo Martínez’s header from a corner kick set piece, was just tipped over the crossbar.

The Basque’s club dominance wouldn’t last long.

In the 28th minute, following some mesmerizingly quick faints inside the penalty box, Correa laid it off to Saul, who made no mistake and put it into the back of net. It was the start of the Argentine’s special night.

Following a slew of uninterrupted passes, it was Correa again making the penultimate effort. This time, his darting, crossing service within the box found a well-positioned Alvaro Morata, who gently tapped the ball into the back of the net.

With the postponement of El Clasico, which was done because Catalan separatists are planning another large rally in Barcelona, Atletico will share the podium with leaders Barcelona for at least a week after their win against Athletic Bilbao, who host Espanyol next.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Leganes 1-0 RCD Mallorca 

Valladolid 2-0 Eibar

Atletico Madrid roster for MLS All-Star Game includes Felix

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Major League Soccer fans will get a good luck at one of the hottest prospects in world soccer when the MLS All Stars take on Atletico Madrid in next week’s MLS All Star Game.

Joao Felix, the $142 million 19-year-old, is among the roster announced by Diego Simeone for the match.

[ MORE: Newcastle in for $28M Saint-Maximin ]

Felix scored 20 times with 11 assists in 40 matches for Benfica before moving to Atleti in the summer. Those numbers include a hat trick against Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League quarterfinals first leg.

The other stars will be there, too, provided no transfers happen in the interim. Koke, Thomas Lemar, Diego Costa, and Saul Niguez are in the squad.

New Atleti defender Kieran Trippier and longtime El Tri hero Hector Herrera will also be sure to help drive attendance in Orlando City.

The full roster is here.

La Liga: Atletico Madrid win again to keep pressure on Barcelona

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A roundup of all of Saturday’s action in Spain’s top flight…

[ FA CUPSETS: West Ham bounced by third-tier Wimbledon | Millwall oust Everton ]

Atletico Madrid 2-0 Getafe

Atleti extended their unbeaten run to 18 games with a straightforward 2-0 victory over sixth-place Getafe on Saturday. As they’ve now done three straight weekends, Diego Simeone’s side cut Barcelona’s title lead to just two points ahead of the defending champions’ fixture. Each of the last two weeks, Barca have taken the field on Sunday and restored their five-point advantage.

Antoine Griezmann opened the scoring with a left-footed strike from the edge of the box in the 27th minute, followed by Saul Niguez’s tap-in of a rebound from Nikola Kalinic’s initial effort in the 37th.

Sevilla 5-0 Levante

Sevilla hammered 11th-place Levante for five goals to snap their four-game winless skid (two straight losses) and reclaim third place — for the time being — from Real Madrid.

Pablo Machin’s side got five goals, all in the second half, from five different goalscorers — Wissam Ben Yedder (48th minute), Andre Silva (60th), Franco Vazques (71st), Pablo Sarabia (80th) and Qunicy Promes (90th).

Elsewhere in La Liga

Leganes 2-2 Eibar
Valencia 3-0 Villarreal

Sunday’s La Liga schedule

Real Valladolid v. Celta Vigo — 6 a.m. ET
Girona v. Barcelona — 10:15 a.m. ET
Real Sociedad v. Huesca — 12:30 p.m. ET
Athletic Bilbao v. Real Betis — 12:30 p.m. ET
Espanyol v. Real Madrid — 2:45 p.m. ET

Atleti wins UEFA Super Cup’s Madrid Derby

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Diego Costa scored twice in regulation and Saul Niguez notched a beautiful goal in extra time as Atletico Madrid beat Real Madrid 4-2 on Wednesday in the UEFA Super Cup.

Koke added a 103rd minute marker in Tallinn, Estonia, to round out the scoring for Atleti, which claimed its third Super Cup since 2010.

Karim Benzema and Sergio Ramos scored for Real, which had won the last two Super Cups. The match pits the winners of the UEFA Champions League and Europa League.

[ MORE: Premier League Club Power Rankings, Week 1 ]

It took less than a minute for Atleti to take the lead, with Costa winning a 50/50 over Sergio Ramos, then rounding Raphael Varane before blasting past Keylor Navas high and tight. Not a bad trio to count amongst your victims.

Real equalized when Gareth Bale sent a sensational back post cross to Karim Benzema, whose angled-back header was equally nice.

The 62nd minute saw Real get its first chance at the lead, with Juanfran‘s flailing arm striking a cross in he Atleti box. Ramos converted his stuttered run-up to make it 2-1.

Costa leveled the score after a glittering Juanfran move through the 18 and cutback to the top of the six.

Saul’s extra time marker was sensational, catching an 18-yard side volley with fury. The ball was always tailing away from the diving Navas, and set-up by Thomas Partey.