BASEL: Swiss champions FC Basel claimed yet another English scalp when they beat a sloppy Liverpool side 1-0 thanks to a Marco Streller goal in the Champions League on Wednesday.
The Basel captain turned the ball in on the rebound from close range after goalkeeper Simon Mignolet saved a goal-bound header, which came off Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel, seven minutes into the second half.
Basel, who bounced back from a 5-1 mauling by Real Madrid in their opening game, have previously beaten Chelsea and Manchester United in the Champions League in the last four seasons and also knocked Tottenham Hotspur out of the Europa League.
Liverpool and Basel now both have three points after two games, behind Real who top the group with six.
Despite the loss, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers remains upbeat about the Reds’ chances of qualifying from the tough group. “The group is still very close,” he said. “It was always going to be a group that went right to the end, certainly for second place.”
Matchday three will see Real, who recorded a narrow 2-1 win over Ludogorets thanks to a late Karim Benzema goal, travel to Anfield and Rodgers is already looking forward to it. “It was disappointing tonight but our next game will be a great occasion for us at Anfield,” he said.
Captain Steven Gerrard, however, gave a much more damning assessment of the match. “We didn’t deserve anything from the game,” he said. “We were soft and second best all over the pitch.”
Dortmund take control
Dortmund strengthened their grip on top spot in Group D with a 3-0 win over Anderlecht in Belgium.
Meanwhile, Arsenal claimed their first points in the group with a 4-1 home win against Galatasaray in the other group match, thanks largely to a Danny Welbeck hat-trick. Wenger, who was celebrating his 18th anniversary at the club, was quick to praise the new signing. “That instinct of a goalscorer in Welbeck was more aggressive and he finished well,” said Wenger. “He has such good pace, it gives him time to finish calmly.”
Atletico back in business
After suffering a shock defeat to Olympiakos on matchday one, last season’s runners-up Atletico Madrid bounced back with a 1-0 win over Juventus at the Vicente Calderon. After the match, Atletico coach Diego Simeone claimed he was happy with the hard-fought victory. “It was a very tight game, which we just edged on the finer details,” he said.
Malmo’s 2-0 victory over Olympiakos means all four sides in Group A are now tied on three points with four matches still to play.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 3rd, 2014.