FC Basel 1893 1-1 FC Porto
Danilo converted a 79th-minute penalty as Porto finally broke Basel's resolve, with the hosts desperately clinging on to an early lead.
Article top media content
• Derlis Gonzalez scores third UEFA Champions League goal of the season
• Danilo levels after Casemiro has effort ruled out for offside
• Porto are one of only three unbeaten sides remaining in the competition
• Basel boss Paulo Sousa has won just twice in 13 meetings with Porto
• The second leg is on 10 March at the Estádio do Dragão
This UEFA Champions League round of 16 tie remains delicately poised after Danilo kept his cool from the spot late on to end FC Basel 1893's resistance and earn FC Porto a 1-1 first-leg draw.
Derlis Gonzalez's fine 11th-minute goal was a dream start for the rusty-looking hosts, and the determined running that brought it was a feature of the Swiss title holders' play throughout. They defended resolutely thereafter until Danilo finally found a way through, winning and converting a penalty.
Basel coach Paulo Sousa had spoken beforehand about the necessity for his team to get up to speed as soon as possible in what was only their third outing after the winter break. His players took him to his word, scoring from their first attack.
Fabian Frei instigated it, floating a fine ball up to Gonzalez as the latter cut in from the right. The Paraguay forward's first touch was sublime on the run, his second took it away from marker Alex Sandro and, slightly off-balance, his third squeezed the ball past Fabiano and inside the post.
It was Gonzalez's last meaningful contribution as, 14 minutes later, he admitted defeat to a knock sustained when scoring. By then Porto were already in the ascendancy, taking a firm grip on midfield and working the goalkeeper through Danilo, whose shot was turned around the post.
Basel held firm, 36-year-old Walter Samuel growing into his tussle with Jackson Martínez in time-honoured fashion. Porto probed, yet any time they saw a gap it vanished like a hole in the sand. It was not going to be easy: the sight of Marco Streller running the length of the pitch to put pressure on the keeper before half-time confirmed that.
Slightly surprisingly, set pieces were the source of the visitors' biggest threat and shortly after the restart Casemiro found the net from a corner – only for an offside decision to curtail his celebrations. It brought fleeting respite. Cristian Tello was denied at the near post and Martínez's poor first touch spoiled a decent opening as tension mounted.
The pressure eventually told when Samuel dived to keep out Danilo's late cross, catching the ball with his hand. The right-back coolly slotted in from the spot to give his side the slight edge going into the return.