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VIDEO: Salah upsets Chelsea again as Basel keep Champions League hopes alive
Chelsea’s starting XI (4-3-3): Petr Cech; Branislav Ivanovic, John Terry, Gary Cahill, Cezar Azpilicueta; Ramires, Mikel, Lampard; Willian (Kevin De Bruyne, 84th min), Eto’o’ (Fernando Torres, 41st min) , Oscar (Eden Hazard, 55th min).
Basel’s starting XI (4-5-1): Yann Sommer; Kay Voser, Fabian Schar, Ivan Ivanov, Tulant Xhaka (Arlind Ajeti, 71st min); Serey Die; Mohamed Salah, Mohamed El-Nenny, Fabian Frei, Valentin Stocker (Gaston Sauro, 91 min), Marco Steller (Giovanni Sio).
Both teams were coming from impressive weekend wins, Basel thrashing FC Thun 4-1 while Chelsea won 3-0 away at West Ham United. Basel needed a win to keep the Champions league dream alive while Chelsea needed the 3 points to top Group E.
“They underestimated us, maybe this will be different. They will want to show how big a club Chelsea is,” said Fabian Frei before the game. Basel were also looking for their first home win in the Champions league: “We are prepared for the match and are looking forward to it. We want to play in the Champions League after the winter break and we also want to get our first [Group E] win at home,” said Murat Yakin (UEFA.com) the night before the game.
And Basel were very well prepared. Starting the game brilliantly, their first chance came in the second minute with a free-kick in a very good position. Xhaka forced Cech to make his first of many saves in the game with a well taken hit, which was later on cleared by Azpilicueta. In the first 11 minutes, Basel had already 4 corners, compared to 0 corners for Chelsea.
Their second chance came in the 12:50 mark when Willian lost the ball, Cech was also beaten but Nigerian Mikel was there to make a very good goal-line clearance to keep the score at 0-0.
Chelsea’s first chance came in the 15th minute when Ivanovic crossed the ball to Eto’o, who couldn’t get a touch on the ball – Chelsea still couldn’t get a shot on target thus far. Salah forced Cech to tip his shot over, which resulted into a corner and a penalty appeal for Basel, which the referee ignored and kept the play on.
Salah had a cracking game, and one of the best chances came in the 23rd minute when he forced Cech to make another save to keep the ball out – Basel’s best chance of the half. In the 41st minute, Torres was brought on for the injured Eto’o, who seemed to pull his groin. Basel had a soft free-kick in the 43rd minute in a very dangerous position but Stocker hit the wall.
The first half ended 0-0. A great first half for Salah, a very poor one from Chelsea: an almost awkward first 45 minutes. Basel were in full control. Both teams had their chances but failed to convert any of them, with Basel being dominant in a one-sided half. Cech’s quick reflexes were keeping Chelsea in the game. A half, by Chelsea’s normal standards, was diabolical.
The second half started quietly. Chelsea were getting more possession and becoming more organized with Mourinho making his second change of the game by bringing Hazard on for Oscar in the 55th minute. Basel made their first change of the game too with Arlind Ajeti coming on for Taulant Xhaka in the 71st minute.
Up till the 74th minute, Basel had 11 attempts compared to Chelsea’s 0 attempts. Steller gave the captaincy armband to Stocker in the 79th minute, getting replaced by Giovanni Sio.
Chelsea were still trying to build chances from the back but the Basel defense was strong enough to keep the blues midfield calm and dominated throughout the whole game. Serey Die came close to snatching the lead in the 81st minute but it went just wide. Mourinho made his final change of the game in the 84th minute, with Kevin De Bruyne coming on for Willian, the game was lightening up by then.
Then came the moment of the game when Mohamed Salah sprinted with pace, catching a long pass from Fabian Schär, then rounding Ivanovic and scoring past Cech. A magnificent goal which is his 3rd against the Czech keeper in 2013 (watch his first here, and his second here).
Basel later on made their last change of the game in the 91st minute with Stocker coming off for Gaston Sauro.
Basel had a 15 shots, 7 of them on target while Chelsea had 2, 0 on target. A total possession of 52%-48% in Basel’s favor, and an 81% passing success compared to Chelsea’s 76%. Mohamed Salah was given an 8.1 ranking, while El-Nenny was ranked 6.6. Salah also completed 2 successful dribbles, had 3 shots on target and made 2 successful tackles. (WhoScored.com)
A very much deserved win for Basel who dominated the game from the 1st minute, brilliant performance from Mohamed Salah and a magnificent goal to top it all off. But because of the draw between Steaua Bucharest and Schalke, Chelsea managed to qualify for the knock-out stages but first spot isn’t guaranteed.
In the next game week, Chelsea host Steaua Bucharest while Schalke host Basel.