Tuesday 12 December 2017

Basel sights on last eight as Stocker rocks Bayern

Basel pulled off another huge European upset with a 1-0 victory over Bayern Munich last night to move within sight of the quarter-finals.

Substitute Valentin Stocker snatched the winner for the Swiss champions in the 86th minute with a shot that went through Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer's legs.

Bayern had survived two early let-offs in the first leg of the last-16 tie as Aleksandar Dragovic and Alexander Frei both struck the woodwork for the Swiss side, whose attacking style accounted for Manchester United in the group phase.

It was the latest blow for Bayern who have suffered a loss of form in the Bundesliga and have dropped four points behind leaders Borussia Dortmund.

Arjen Robben, relegated to the bench in Bayern's recent outings, won back his place in the starting line-up but failed to impress.

Bayern began promisingly as Franck Ribery had a shot blocked by Yann Sommer in the third minute and was denied shortly afterwards when he was sent clear, but Sommer pushed his effort into the side-netting.

Basel's first chance fell to Marco Streller whose clever flick was tipped away by Neuer.

The hosts continued to trouble the Bayern goal and Dragovic's header was pushed on to the inside of the post by Neuer. Three minutes later the woodwork saved Bayern again when Frei crashed a shot against the crossbar from 12 metres after Park Joo Ho's slide rule pass found him free in the middle of the area.

An unlikely 0-0 draw loomed until Stocker's dramatic late strike sent the crowd in the St Jakob Park stadium into raptures.

A stoppage-time goal from Andre Ayew gave Olympique Marseille a 1-0 win over Inter Milan in the other Champions League last-16 first-leg tie last night.

Ayew broke the deadlock with a header in the third minute of time added on leaving the Inter players shaking their heads in disbelief as the French side stretched their unbeaten run in all competitions to 16 games.

Irish Independent

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