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Hard work pays off for Frei and Basel

Published: Thursday 15 September 2011, 8.56CET
FC Basel 1893's players were thrilled to be top of Group C and heading to Manchester United FC but Marius Pena rued FC Oţelul Galaţi's inability to build on his equaliser in the 2-1 loss.
by Steven Rogers
from St. Jakob-Park
Published: Thursday 15 September 2011, 8.56CET

Hard work pays off for Frei and Basel

FC Basel 1893's players were thrilled to be top of Group C and heading to Manchester United FC but Marius Pena rued FC Oţelul Galaţi's inability to build on his equaliser in the 2-1 loss.

Opening goalscorer Fabian Frei told UEFA.com that FC Basel 1893 had to "graft hard" to beat FC Oţelul Galaţi 2-1 in Wednesday's UEFA Champions League Group C curtain-raiser. Frei's first-half header coupled with a late penalty dispatched by namesake Alexander was enough for maximum points against group stage debutants Oţelul, who had drawn level through Marius Pena.

Fabian Frei, Basel midfielder
I am very tired after that game but it feels good because it was a victory. It was a difficult game – we had to graft hard to get something from it. They were well-organised, especially at the back, and that made it tricky for us and the duels were tough. But this is the Champions League, the rhythm is a bit higher. Overall, I think we deserved the victory and now we top the group which is extremely positive for us and we hope that this win can help get us going in our domestic league.

Marco Streller, Basel forward
It was a difficult match and we knew they would not be easy to break down. We knew that we would need a lot of patience. The first match is always important to get into the swing of the Champions League football and it's important to win it. We have managed to do that, with a touch of fortune – still we'll gladly take the three points. Galaţi defended very well and were well-organised – they were a good team.

Now we look forward to our next match at Manchester United, a big game and against a great club, and we'll try and do our best at Old Trafford
Marco Streller
We started the second half very well, got a quick goal and we thought we could build on that, but unfortunately we couldn't
Marius Pena

We lost last year to a Romanian team [CFR 1907 Cluj] in our first match but that didn't play on our minds this time round. Today we played much better than that game a year ago. I am happy to be named man of the match but it's more important that the team won. Now we look forward to our next match at Manchester United, a big game and against a great club, and we'll try and do our best at Old Trafford.

Yann Sommer, Basel goalkeeper
We knew that they would be very defensive, they would play aggressively and they would do everything to make life difficult for us. We didn't have much space to play and they played well on the break. But fortunately we just limited them to one goal. At the beginning of the second half we got a little nervous and lost our composure but we managed to get hold of our nerves again, showed mental strength and we won. That was important because after we conceded, you didn't know what would happen. We showed that we can grab late goals and now we're pleased to be leading the group after the first match.

Marius Pena, Oţelul forward

It is very frustrating to lose this game. We were hoping to get a good result here in Basel. But that is football, Champions League football, and when you have chances you must take them, and we didn't. We had a good start with a lot of good running all over the field and we played well. We started the second half very well, got a quick goal and we thought we could build on that, but unfortunately we couldn't. When you look at the penalty decision, you have to admit it was a penalty – we can't have any complaints about that.

Last updated: 26/09/14 5.15CET

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