FC Basel 2-0 FC Spartak Moskva
Goals from Swiss forward Hakan Yakin and Argentinian Julio Hernán Rossi ensured FC Basel marked their maiden appearance in the group stages of the UEFA Champions League with a historic 2-0 defeat of FC Spartak Moskva.
Basel went into the match in a rich vein of form, having demolished FC Wil 7-1 last week and eased past FC Aarau 4-0 at the weekend. They were full of confidence from the first whistle, wasting no time in putting Spartak under pressure.
The Swiss champions dominated the first half but their constant probing, command of the midfield and intelligent wide play only paid off after the break when Hakan Yakin, who was a menace to the Spartak throughout, opened the scoring on 50 minutes. The striker drove into the corner after Christian Giménez took advantage of a scrappy clearance to play him in with a header.
The match was finished as a contest five minutes later when Rossi, undoubtedly the man of the match, made it 2-0 after he capped a magnificent dribble with a raking strike past the helpless Stanislav Cherchessov. Spartak, who are taking part in the first group stage for the sixth consecutive season, finished at the bottom of Group H last term with only two draws from six matches and will need to sharpen their attack if they are to improve this time.
Basel threatened from the outset with Antonio Esposito carving out the first opportunity early on. Rossi then had the ball in the back of the net on 15 minutes, only to see his header ruled offside.
Spartak did have chances but could not profit, Vladimir Beschastnykh blasting over from the edge of the area and Baye Kebe charging on to a through-ball only to see the shot comfortably gathered by Pascal Zuberbühler, alert throughout. Dmitri Koudriashovalso broke free and divided the Basel defence with an accurate pass, but Aleksandr Danishevski was beaten to the ball.
Trio go close
At the end of the half, Rossi, Hakan Yakin and Giménez were all close to breaking the deadlock, with the latter almost making Spartak pay for the sloppy defending which subsequently cost them dear when he rushed on to a ball in the box.
Spartak showed glimpses of promise before the interval but were consistently outplayed in the second half and had no answer to the goals from Yakin and Rossi. In fact, the Swiss side could have won by a greater margin. Rossi came close to his second goal after a cross from Sébastien Barberis, his header rebounding off the bar and Haas powered a header centimetres wide after a corner. This was only Spartak's second defeat in seven games against Swiss opposition, the last also against Basel in the 1970/71 season.