Modou Sougou scored twice in five second-half minutes as CFR 1907 Cluj came from behind to earn an invaluable victory at FC Basel 1893 in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League play-off.
Trailing at the break to Marco Streller's exquisite volley, the visitors staged a passionate rally after the restart. Sougou led the charge, levelling in the 66th minute and securing a valuable win ahead of next Wednesday's return.
Basel lost at CFR in the UEFA Champions League group stage two years ago and began the match as if keen to atone for that setback, their touch and interchange bristling with intent. It was the visitors who threatened first, however, Sougou sending Yann Sommer sprawling to his right with a fierce 25-metre shot.
Basel reached the round of 16 last season and swiftly wrestled the initiative back. Mohamed Salah surged down the right and swept an inventive ball into the path of Streller, whose glancing header drifted wide. Salah then freed David Degen, who fired straight at Mário Felgueiras with Streller unmarked in the middle.
Salah again led the charge five minutes later, Valentin Stocker turning his cross wide, and, though the hosts were almost punished for their profligacy when Pantelis Kapetanos blazed over, the goal Basel had threatened arrived a minute before the break. Marcelo Díaz's flighted corner was diverted into the path of Streller, who adjusted to unleash a stunning acrobatic volley past Mário Felgueiras.
The start of the second period bore an uncanny resemblance to the first. Accepting a measured return from Díaz, Degen crossed for Stocker, whose firm header was brilliantly repelled by Felgueiras at point-blank range. Though seemingly in control, the hosts were caught out midway through the half, Sougou latching on to Rafael Bastos' through ball to produce a sweeping right-footed finish.
Parity felt like paradise for CFR, but better was to come. Gabriel Mureşan was the architect, freeing Sougou to lash his second into the roof of the net. The introduction of Alexander Frei failed to spark a Basel renaissance and it was the away side who went closest to another goal, only the woodwork denying Sougou a hat-trick.
©UEFA.com 1998-2011. All rights reserved.