Basel keep hopes alive
FC Basel kept alive their hopes of reaching the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League with a 3-2 win over Otelul Galati.
Last Updated: 22/11/11 10:19pm
FC Basel kept alive their hopes of reaching the knockout stages of the Champions League with a 3-2 win over Otelul Galati.
A win for Basel against Manchester United in their final group game would see the Swiss side progress at the expense of the English champions.
The Romanian champions were no match for Basel in the first half who raced into a 3-0 lead. Otelul, by comparison, didn't manage a shot on target in the half.
Things were very different in the second half, however, as Otelul fought back late on to try and pick up their first points of competition.
Basel let their opponents see plenty of the ball in the early stages, yet by the quarter-hour mark and after only two attacks of note the visitors led 2-0.
The first goal arrived after 10 minutes when Alexander Frei took a few strides infield from the left flank and chipped a delightful pass to Benjamin Huggel inside the Otelul penalty area.
Huggel laid the ball off short to Fabian Frei and his firm and low first-time shot from the left embarrassed Branko Grahovac at the goalkeeper's near post.
It was 2-0 four minutes later when Streller raced into space on the left and, unchallenged, was allowed to zip into the penalty area.
He might have shot, as Grahovac came to meet him, but chose the smart option of chipping the ball across to Alexander Frei and the former Borussia Dortmund striker drove the ball home from 12 yards, one bounce and into the net.
Otelul, the champions of Romania last season, pushed for a reply but initially they lacked the clinical touch of the Basel forwards.
Gabriel Giurgiu was among the home players to spurn chances, firing over the crossbar.
Streller looked to have put the game safe for Basel in the 37th minute when he fired the third, running through the home defence after an attempted clearance from Cristian Sarghi went badly wrong. Streller flicked a smart shot with the outside of his left foot into the bottom right corner.
Basel pushed forward for much of the second half, seeking to increase their lead.
But it went to 3-1 in the 75th minute when Giurgiu crashed in a 20-yard strike, giving Basel goalkeeper Yann Sommer little chance as the ball found the top left corner.
And when the lead was cut to a single goal in the 81st minute, Basel were clinging on.
This time Liviu Antal was the scorer, capitalising on woeful play inside his own penalty area by Park Joo-ho and firing the ball past Sommer.
After four previous defeats, Otelul had a first Champions League point in their sights, but Dorinel Munteanu's side did not have a third goal in them.
Basel remain third in the group, but they stand just a point behind both United and Benfica, who shared four goals at Old Trafford.