Basel stay in the hunt by beating Cluj

Reuters

Tue, 23 Nov 22:07:00 2010

Swiss champions FC Basel kept alive their faint hopes of reaching the Champions League last 16 with a 1-0 win over CFR Cluj on Tuesday.

Argentine forward Federico Almerares, standing in for the injured Marco Streller, prodded home the only goal in the 15th minute on a near-freezing night.

The win leaves Basel third with six points from five games in Group E and they must beat group leaders Bayern Munich in their last match on Dec. 8 and hope AS Roma lose at Cluj.

Second-placed Roma have nine points after recovering from two goals down to beat Bayern 3-2 and need just a point in Romania to qualify for the knockout phase.

Cluj, with three points, have lost four games in a row in the group since winning their opener against Basel.

Basel played well in their previous two home games against Bayern Munich and AS Roma but lost them both. This time, their performance was far inferior but they made off with the points.

The Swiss needed an early goal and Almerares provided it when he stabbed the ball home from an unmarked position after Samuel Inkoom's low shot found its way through the Cluj defence.

Basel were in complete control but failed to make their chances count.

Behrang Safari saw his shot cleared off the line by Cadu then Alexander Frei, Switzerland's record international scorer, missed his kick when Fwayo Tembo's cross left him in the clear.

It was a similar story after the break as Tembo saw his shot deflected onto the underside of the bar by Nuno Claro and Frei's effort from the rebound was also blocked by the Cluj goalkeeper.

Although Basel continued to dominate, the second half was scrappy and niggly while the Romanians barely offered a threat.

Frei had an effort harshly disallowed for offside after turning Tembo's pass home from close range and Gilles Yapi had two attempts deflected wide as the Swiss pushed for a second.

 

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