Monday 19 August 2019

Man United fail to clinch place in Champions League last 16 after Basel snatch late win

Basel 1 Manchester United 0

Soccer Football - Champions League - Basel vs Manchester United - St. Jakob-Park, Basel, Switzerland - November 22, 2017 Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho and Marcos Rojo look dejected after the match REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann
Soccer Football - Champions League - Basel vs Manchester United - St. Jakob-Park, Basel, Switzerland - November 22, 2017 Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho and Marcos Rojo look dejected after the match REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

Simon Peach

Manchester United were denied a place in the Champions League knockout phase as Michael Lang's late strike secured Basel a memorable, and deserved, victory.

Jose Mourinho's men started Group A with four successive victories and could have qualified without even kicking a ball had CSKA Moscow failed to beat Benfica in the early kick-off.

It still appears a case of when rather if United reach the last-16, but Basel's late 1-0 win means progress is not yet completely certain ahead of the Russians' visit to Old Trafford next month.

Mourinho's men still boast a three-point cushion but things could have been so different had his side showed cutting edge in the first half.

Marouane Fellaini saw a header cleared off the line and Anthony Martial's cross hit the post, with Marcos Rojo seeing an outrageous long-range effort deflected onto the bar on his return from a cruciate ligament injury after 216 days out.

The visitors dominated the opening period but tailed off markedly after the break as Basel repeated their memorable win on United's last visit to St Jakob-Park in 2011.

Lang hit the woodwork as Sergio Romero's goal was met by wave after wave of attacks, with United's defence eventually buckling in the 89th minute as Raoul Petretta's cross was turned home by Lang.

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