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Ludogorets break Basel hearts in stoppage time
The last time both teams met [last season] was over a two-legged play-off for a Champions League group stages spot where Basel were able to beat their opponents; winning 4-2 in Bulgaria before ensuring that they qualified with a 2-0 win at St. Jacob Park.
The visitors were not as lucky on Wednesday night as they were on the two previous occasions, losing to a stoppage time goal.
Basel started arguably the better of the two teams and were able to manage a few shots. However, The game’s first chance came from the home team.
Ludogorets managed to make use of a free-kick as Marcelinho forced Vaclik into a save after diving onto the cross and heading the ball near the bottom left corner.
The odds were controversially shifted in the Bulgarian champion’s favor as the official sent Serey Die off in a call that appeared to be too harsh in the 18th minute. Despite the Ivorian’s sending off, the Swiss were still able to mount the larger threat of both teams.
Their most dangerous attack was arguably when Gonzalez linked up with Calla in a swift one-two and was able to squeeze a shot into the bottom right corner, only to be denied by Stoyanov.
FC Basel went into a second half with a whole different mindset, looking to put men behind the ball and appearing content to go home with a sole point from their trip to Bulgaria.
Ludogorets held majority of the ball in the second half, created almost all of the chances, yet their attempts were rendered useless by a tidy and resilient Basel defence.
Ahmed Hamoudi came on with less than 10 minutes remaining as Basel boss, Paulo Sousa, looked to add a spark to his team’s counters. The Egypt international’s effect was almost instantaneous as he was fouled by Ludogorets hero Cosmin Moţi who was booked for the challenge.
Just after the official signaled for three minutes to be added on the clock, Minev found the back of the net, sending the supporting crowd into a wild frenzy.
The home side will be delighted with the late goal which not only keeps them in the contention for the second placed spot, but also gave them a long awaited revenge.
As things stand, Basel’s fight for the second placed spot became a lot tougher. Real Madrid are now soaring alone in the lead with 9 points while Basel, Ludogorets and Liverpool are all on 3 points. Basel currently lie bottom of the group due to goal difference.