Turkish side Malatyaspor came close to embarrassing FC Basel at the St Jakob-Park stadium in their UEFA Cup first round second-leg encounter as they fought back from a two-goal deficit to take their hosts into extra-time. However, Swiss blushes were spared by Marco Streller's 95th-minute 'silver' goal, which took the hosts into the second round.
Basel, with 13 wins from 13 games in their domestic league to date this season, started the game in confident style with two scoring chances in the first two minutes. First, Hervé Tum missed a header 45 seconds into the game, and moments later defender Thimothée Atouba tried his luck from distance without reward.
Unfortunately, if the home support expected further attacking verve, they were to be disappointed as Basel decided to simply keep their Turkish opponents at bay, seemingly confident in the fact that Malatyaspor were unable to muster any sustained pressure despite been afforded a lot of space in midfield.
Indeed, Basel goalkeeper Pascal Zuberbühler was only involved once during the first half, when Muhammet Akagündüz threatened after 35 minutes, but Atouba got back to clear the danger.
Tale of two halves
Malatyaspor were to prove stubborn foes and Fazli Ulusoy signalled a warning to Basel five minutes into the second half when his shot hit the outside of the post. The Swiss failed to heed the warning as Celaleddin Kocak reacted quickest to beat Zuberbühler after 64 minutes.
Seven minutes later, Muhammet almost levelled the tie when he hit the post again. Malatyaspor, however, were not finished and, six minutes from time, Kocak grabbed his second as he eluded the Basel defence to beat Zuberbühler with a well-taken header.
The game went into extra-time and the tension mounted. With the second round in sight, the momentum seemed to be with the visitors but Basel were able to regroup and Streller's goal saw them through.