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AS Monaco FC's pledge to win the UEFA Cup this season was broken as FC Basel 1893's Swedish defender Daniel Majstorovic secured a priceless equaliser at the Stade Louis II to earn his side a 2-1 aggregate win.
'A question of honour'
After being eliminated from the UEFA Champions League in the third qualifying round back in August, Monaco president Michal Pastor had made UEFA Cup success the club's main priority, saying: "We must win it. It's a question of honour." Yet, when honours finished even in the Principality tonight, it was Basel - who won the first leg 1-0 - who advanced to the last 16.
The home side had been handed a 21st-minute lead when on-loan striker Christian Vieri converted from the penalty spot after Jaroslav Plašil was brought down by Matías Delgado. However, Basel took what proved to be the decisive advantage eleven minutes into the second period as Mladen Petrić's cross from the left was headed by Majstorovic past Flavio Roma to leave Monaco needing at least two goals for victory.
The visitors had started brightly with David Degen - the scorer of their winner in the first leg - testing Roma early on before Majstorovic kept the goalkeeper occupied with an effort from the edge of the area. Despite that bright Basel spell, Monaco's first meaningful attack was to end with the penalty that put them ahead.
Akis Zikos came close to extending Monaco's lead eight minutes later, but his effort sailed wide. Maicon then miscued from 18 metres in the second half before Basel equalised, and while substitute Olivier Kapo had a couple of good efforts late on, Basel's nerve held.
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