FC Basel 1893 maintained an impressive record at St. Jakob-Park as Marco Streller's second-half header extended their home unbeaten run in the UEFA Cup to 12 games and gave them the perfect start in Group D.
The Swiss outfit had gone into their meeting with Stade Rennais FC full of confidence after an 8-1 aggregate victory against FK Sarajevo in the previous round and they continued that form on Matchday 1 as Streller, who registered twice in that impressive first-round win, scored the only goal ten minutes into the second half.
Basel started well and almost worked an early advantage when Ivan Ergić's fierce free-kick was tipped around the post by Rennes goalkeeper Patrice Luzi. Rennes were second best, but gradually began to work their way into the game with Franco Costanzo having to move quickly to save Sylvain Marveaux's effort on 27 minutes, before watching Bruno Cheyrou's powerful shot sail over the bar three minutes later.
Basel ended the first half as they had begun it, however, as Scott Chipperfield hit a long-range shot that was well caught by Luzi before, minutes later, Felipe Caicedo fired an effort narrowly wide of the left-hand post. Rennes again worked Costanzo just after the restart, but the goalkeeper was more than equal to Jimmy Briand's strike.
The decisive moment came moments later as Streller rose above the Rennes defence to head in Chipperfield's corner. Caicedo almost doubled Basel's lead seconds later with a wonderful shot from distance that flew narrowly wide. Having survived that Rennes pressed for an equaliser but the closest they came was a shot by Mickaël Pagis that drifted well wide as Basel reached their dozen.
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