FC Basel 1-0 Manchester United: Michael Lang strikes as United stumble
By Jack Wilkinson
Last Updated: 23/11/17 6:50am
Manchester United were denied passage into the Champions League knockout phase as Michael Lang's 89th-minute strike snatched a dramatic 1-0 victory for Basel at St. Jakob-Park.
United needed to avoid defeat to reach the last 16 and looked well on course to do that after creating a host of chances in a dominant first-half display.
But Jose Mourinho's men were made to pay for their wastefulness as a spirited second-half display from Basel culminated in Lang converting the winner in the final minute.
It still appears a case of when rather if United reach the last 16, but the defeat leaves them needing a result in their final group stage match against CSKA Moscow, while Basel head to Benfica on Matchday six looking to seal their own progression.
Jose Mourinho made seven changes to the side that beat Newcastle, the most notable of which saw Marcos Rojo make his first appearance since April. Basel, meanwhile, made three changes from their 5-1 victory over Sion as Eder Balanta, Raoul and Dimitri Oberlin started.
United dominated the first half from start to finish but failed to convert their superiority into goals. Romelu Lukaku, having been played through on goal by Paul Pogba, failed to score past Tomas Vaclik on 12 minutes, before Manuel Akanji cleared Marouane Fellaini's header off the line when his 'keeper was beaten a minute later.
Fellaini remained a threat throughout, flashing a header wide on 16 minutes before glancing Anthony Martial's cross onto the post as United look to take the lead in the run-up to half-time.
Martial so nearly matched a sensational run from deep - which saw him fend off two Basel defenders - with a finish, but Vaclik saved his near post effort, before Marcos Rojo's audacious 30-yard struck the crossbar.
Having dominated the first period, United tailed off markedly after the break as Basel repeated their memorable win on United's last visit to St Jakob-Park in 2011.
Renato Steffen curled a sweetly-struck effort inches wide on 63 minutes before Lang bullied Daley Blind at the back post to head Mohammed Elyounoussi's header against the crossbar.
The impressive Serey Die drew Romero in a diving save with a fierce 25-yard drive on 77 minutes as the United goal was bombarded by Basel. The pressure finally told as Raoul Petretta's cross was turned home by Lang at the death.
- Basel enjoyed only their second win in their last eight Champions League home games (D2 L4).
- No English side has ever managed to keep a clean sheet on the road against Basel in European competition (14 such fixtures).
- Man Utd have conceded in each of their last three games in all competitions, after keeping six clean sheets in the seven matches before that.
- After mustering just one shot in the first half, Basel managed 12 after the break.
- Sergio Romero suffered his first defeat in his last 23 appearances with Man Utd in all competitions.
- Zlatan Ibrahimovic became the first player to play for seven different clubs in the Champions League (Ajax, Juventus, Inter, Barcelona, Milan, PSG, Man Utd).
Man of the Match - Paul Pogba
Looked bright on his second start since sustaining a hamstring injury against Basel when the sides met in September. Was superb on the ball but was taken off in the 66th minute as he became tired. The impact of his exit was noticeable.
Manchester United host Brighton at Old Trafford at 3pm on Saturday.