VIDEO: El-Nenny goal seals Europa League progression
El-Nenny’s second half strike helped to seal Basel’s place in the knockout stage of the Europa League, as the Swiss giants came back from 2-0 down in a lively game which saw a red card and four goals.
Both teams put out strong sides, as a win would put their teams through to the knockout stages with a game to spare. Basel went into the game on the back of two losses in the league, whereas Fiorentina were going in on the back of a draw with Empoli following a long winning streak.
La Viola had a stonewall penalty appeal denied by the referee in the opening minutes as Mohamed El-Nenny appeared to handle the ball in the penalty area.
Fiorentina opened the scoring after being on top for the opening 20 minutes or so, with Borja Valero’s clever pass finding youngster Bernadeschi who finished well past Vailati.
Soon after, the hotheaded Roncaglia was shown a red card after appearing to elbow Embolo in the face, making Embolo being the most fouled player in the tournament.
Despite good chances for Basel through El-Nenny and Bjarnason, Fiorentina doubled their lead through Bernardeschi’s second goal after good work by Kalinic in the 36th minute.
The offside trap tactic employed by Fiorentina backfired four minutes later, as Embolo’s header was rebounded to Marek Suchy, and the captain finished past the helpless young keeper to bring the score back to 2-1. Embolo appeared to be offside in the build up but the goal still stood.
With the man advantage, Basel pressed relentlessly for an equaliser, and the advantage paid off when El-Nenny struck on the half volley from the edge of the box which was too powerful for the keeper to save, with 16 minutes to go until the final whistle.
The result, combined with the 0-0 draw between Belenenses and Lech Poznan, puts Basel through to the knockout stages with a game to spare, while Fiorentina will need to avoid defeat to Lech Poznan in their final group game to go through.
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