Simon Vukčević scored in each half to give Sporting Clube de Portugal the upper hand after the first leg of their UEFA Cup Round of 32 tie with FC Basel 1893 on Wednesday.
The Montenegro midfielder struck early in each half as the hosts, playing their first game in this season's competition after their elimination from the UEFA Champions League, looked to build on their weekend Portuguese Cup success against CS Marítimo. Basel, riding high at the top of the Swiss Super League, rarely tested Sporting goalkeeper Rui Patrício after a promising start.
The visitors almost went ahead inside three minutes when Carlitos' corner from the right picked out Ivan Ergić who headed just over. Instead it was Sporting who took the lead in the eighth minute, Vukčević finishing into the bottom corner after being set up by Leandro Romagnoli's neat pass. But that was a rare foray forward for the home side as Basel dominated possession early on, David Degen going closest to bringing them level with a volley which fizzed over. The visitors suffered a blow a minute before the break when goalkeeper Franco Costanzo was forced off with injury to be replaced by Liberia international Louis Crayton.
And Vukčević gave the new goalkeeper no chance as he doubled the lead after 58 minutes, drilling João Moutinho's right-wing cross high into the top corner from the right side of the area. The 22-year-old could have sealed a hat-trick, and all but guaranteed Sporting a place in the last 16 moments later, but Crayton came to his side's rescue with a fine parry. Eduardo and François Marque had late chances as Basel looked for an away goal to take back to Switzerland, yet both were off target to leave their UEFA Cup hopes hanging by a thread.
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