Champions League - Basel shock Bayern in first leg

Wed, 22 Feb 21:40:00 2012

Basel struck late on to stun Bayern Munich with a 1-0 Champions League last-16 first leg victory at St. Jakob-Park.

FC Basel's (FCB) Xherdan Shaqiri (L) challenges Bayern Munich's Anatoliy Tymoshchuk during their Champions League last 16 first leg soccer match in Basel February 22, 2012. - 0

Valentin Stocker came off the bench to notch the only goal of an entertaining and open contest in Switzerland four minutes from time.

The hosts had hit the woodwork twice in the opening stages, but also had goalkeeper Yann Sommer to thank for a string of excellent saves to keep Bayern's highly-rated firepower at bay.

After defeating Manchester United to get to the knockout stage of the Champions League for the first time, the Swiss champions claimed another scalp in the form of the 2001 European champions though they will need to avoid defeat - or at least score an away goal - to advance to the quarter-finals.

The away side, ranked as third favourites to lift the trophy come May, started fast with both Mario Gomez and Franck Ribery having chances in the opening three minutes.

First Gomez latched onto a Ribery through pass to go one-on-one with Sommer, only to be forced away from goal by the outrushing Swiss stopper.

Moments later, the keeper parried a Ribery strike before holding onto the Frenchman’s follow-up as the home side experienced a rough welcome to the knockout phase of the competition.

Basel began to take the ball forward after adjusting throughout the opening five minutes, but Marco Streller was lucky not to be booked on seven minutes when he threw himself to the ground inside the penalty area under pressure from right-back Rafinha.

Less than a minute later, it took a last-ditch challenge from Jerome Boateng to prevent Xherdan Shaqiri, who will join the Bavarian side in the summer on a four year deal, from striking at goal from close range as he collected a cross from the right.

Philipp Lahm sent Ribery through at an angle on the left to force a parry from Sommer after 11 minutes, while Bayern academy graduate Markus Steinhofer’s cross was almost lobbed over Manuel Neuer by Streller five minutes later, only for the German keeper to show great reflexes in getting a touch and sending it over the bar.

From the corner, Alexsandar Dragovic headed onto the inside of the near post and watched the ball agonisingly drift along the line before eventually being cleared by Holger Badstuber, and two minutes later they found the woodwork again.

Alexander Frei, who spent a portion of his career in Germany, notably for Bayern’s championship rivals Borussia Dortmund, sent a shot over the outrushing Neuer and onto the crossbar after a great ball from Joo-Ho Park’s cut inside from the left.

Though the final quarter-hour saw both sides slow the pace down somewhat, Arjen Robben ended a fantastic opening 30 minutes by moving inside from the right wing to square for David Alaba, whose shot was top corner-bound from outside the penalty area only for Sommer to produce a solid catch.

It was the underdogs who had the first real chance of the second half, when Fabian Frei was put through by Granit Xhaka on 51 minutes only for Badstuber to come across to concede the corner just before a shot could be fashioned.

Lahm cut inside to strike well on 68, and it had to be pushed around the near upright by Sommer, who came to the rescue again four minutes later with a great block to deny a clean-through Gomez.

The keeper was clattered on the rebound by substitute Thomas Mueller, who was then booked less than two minutes into his cameo appearance.

Shaqiri may have had a spotlight shone on him for his link between the two clubs, but it was his replacement with six minutes remaining who would make what could be a crucial impact for the knockout stage newcomers.

Cameroon striker Jacques Zoua took just 90 seconds to pick out a diagonal through pass which found fellow replacement Stocker unmarked at the far post, and the 22-year-old slotted the only goal across Neuer.

The hosts defended resolutely to see out their result for the remaining four minutes plus an extra four added on for stoppages, and now find themselves one clean sheet away from the last eight of the competition for the very first time.

Liam Happe - on Twitter @liamhappe / Eurosport

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