Fabian Schär's penalty killed off FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk's UEFA Europa League challenge, with tonight's 1-1 draw in Ukraine setting up FC Basel 1893 for a round of 16 meeting with FC Zenit St Petersburg.
With both sides down to ten men, Roman Zozulya was penalised for a block on Valentin Stocker in the Dnipro area, and Schär stepped up on 81 minutes to beat Jan Laštůvka with a low strike to the goalkeeper's left. Just five minutes earlier, Dnipro had scented the chance of a comeback when Yevhen Seleznyov sent Yann Sommer the wrong way with a near identical spot kick, but Basel's 2-0 first-leg lead proved to be decisive.
Dnipro might have concluded that they had just not done enough to unsettle Basel after Nikola Kalinić was dismissed within ten minutes of coming on as a second-half substitute following a tussle with Schär. Basel could have been ahead inside ten minutes, with Mohamed Salah going clear and lifting the ball over Laštůvka, but the Egyptian's effort landed narrowly wide. While Juande Ramos's team raised their game after that, they never truly carved their opponents open.
Zozulya was down on his knees cursing his luck after a picture-perfect half-volley on the run slammed into Sommer's side netting. Seleznyov hooked over under the shadow of the goal before the interval, while Giuliano's goalbound effort was deflected to safety early in the second half. Things looked grim after Kalinić was sent off, yet the numbers were evened up when Fabian Frei saw red after raising an arm to block Zozulya's shot in the box.
Seleznyov converted that one, but fluffed a promising position soon afterwards with only Sommer to beat. Schär's cool finish at the other end then slammed the door shut on Dnipro's campaign.
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