FC Basel 1893 booked their place in the last 32 of the UEFA Cup with a one-goal win against SK Brann at St. Jakob-Park and will now travel to Hamburger SV in two weeks' time looking to win Group D.
Three in contention
The Swiss Super League side trail the German giants by two points in the section but cannot be caught by Brann, NK Dinamo Zagreb or Stade Rennais FC – all of whom could yet seal the third qualifying spot when the pool is played to a close on 20 December. Midfielder Carlitos struck the decisive goal for Christian Gross' team from a free-kick in the first half, although Basel needed a save from goalkeeper Franco Costanzo to deny Brann midfielder Erik Huseklepp a last-gasp leveller.
Both teams made enterprising starts although chances were chiefly of the half variety, usually shots from range. Brann midfielder Petter Vaagan Moen and Carlitos traded such efforts before the Basel man broke the deadlock in the 39th minute. Having been felled by Ramiro Corrales, Carlitos took the free-kick himself and fired beyond Håkon Opdal. The goalkeeper then had to be at his best to ensure Brann went in just a goal behind, diving to keep out a powerful Reto Zanni drive.
The Norwegian champions pressed for an equaliser in the second half but were largely frustrated by a Basel defence content to hold on to the narrow advantage. Joakim Sjöhage, Vaagan Moen and Huseklepp all had chances but Costanzo was equal to all of them.