A last-gasp Christian Giménez goal gave FC Basel a dramatic, but deserved 2-1 victory against Juventus FC - only for the Italian champions to progress to the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals by the narrowest of margins.
Out with a bang
Basel knew they needed at least a four-goal victory to go through - and then only if Manchester United FC did not lose at RC Deportivo La Coruña - but their committed players and fervent fans were determined to go out with a bang, and they did just that as they responded to Tacchinardi's early goal with a Mario Cantaluppi equaliser and dominated the rest of the match before the breathless finale.
Home coach Christian Gross was able to field a familiar lineup unchanged from the 1-1 draw at United. Meanwhile Juventus made four alterations to the team that, crucially, beat Deportivo with Mark Iuliano coming into the defence, Igor Tudor - who scored the late winner last week - replacing the suspended Edgar Davids in midfield and Cristian Zenoni and Alessandro Birindelli combining on the left.
It was clear from the outset that Basel, having already produced the best Swiss run in the Champions League, were determined to press for goals. However, Juventus were superb on the counterattack in beating Basel 4-0 on Matchday 8, and so it proved again tonight on ten minutes as the visitors broke and Zenoni fed Alessio Tacchinardi, whose left-footed shot from 25 metres gave Pascal Zuberbühler no chance.
This only redoubled Basel's determination, though, as they dominated the rest of the half. Hakan Yakin forced Gianluigi Buffon to tip a clever chip wide, while the goalkeeper also had to make a save from Scott Chipperfield. David Trezeguet limped off for Marcelo Salas on the half-hour and, eight minutes later, Basel were deservedly level. A sliced Iuliano clearance was flicked by Giménez off Birindelli, and Cantaluppi pounced to volley in his first Champions League goal. Hakan Yakin then forced another Buffon save, as Juventus held on for half-time.
Juventus forced to defend
Despite a Salas shot on target just after the break, Basel continued to dominate in the second period. Sébastien Barberis shot over just three minutes into the half, and Juventus continued to defend in numbers, although Pavel Nedved was always a threat at the other end. Hakan Yakin almost pounced on a Lilian Thuram header in front of goal just after the hour mark, but Iuliano ensured the Swiss international could not get full contact.
On 67 minutes, Basel went even closer as Giménez hit the crossbar following a corner, and even the arrival of Alessandro Del Piero after a six-week absence soon afterwards did not stop Hakan Yakin forcing Buffon to palm wide. Juventus themselves looked stronger as the half went on, but in the second - and final - minute of added time, Basel forced their tenth corner. Cantaluppi's kick was flicked on by Chipperfield, and Giménez volleyed in the final touch of the Swiss side's historic campaign.