CFR 1907 Cluj goalscorer Lacina Traoré told UEFA.com: "I put in so much work that I had to go off with cramp," after the Romanian side belied their domestic slump to defeat FC Basel 1893.
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Lacina Traoré told UEFA.com that CFR 1907 Cluj's landmark defeat of FC Basel 1893 was built on hard work and a desire to answer their critics.
Romanian double-winners last season, CFR stand 12th after seven games of the new league season. Disappointing results cost coach Andrea Mandorlini his job and on Monday he was replaced by Sorin Cârţu, who had just 48 hours to prepare his new charges – with a little help from the players themselves as they earned their first UEFA Champions League home win.
"It was hard for the new coach because he'd only been there for two days," Traoré said. "We tried to help him because he didn't know all the players and God did the rest. It was huge for me, my first game in the Champions League and my first Champions League goal. I gave everything for the team, as did everyone else because we've had some dodgy results in the league and we had to do this.
I put in so much work that I had to go off with cramp."
The tall, pacy 20-year-old Ivorian gave the visiting defenders a torrid time and headed in CFR's second goal of the game on 12 minutes to already better their showing at the Stadionul Dr Constantin Rădulescu on their competition bow two years ago, when they managed only one home point. As for Ionuţ Rada's opener three minutes earlier the architect was Juan Culio, a cultured presence on the left of midfield.
With a visit to Roma coming up on Matchday 2, bringing back memories of CFR's 2-1 win at the Stadio Olimpico two seasons ago, the double goalscorer than night, Culio, is hopeful that Group E's fourth seeds can continue to spring surprises. "It will be tough for us to get through with the likes of Bayern München and Roma in our group but we'll do what we can to try to get through to the next round," the Argentinian midfielder said.
Basel will have wanted points on the board ahead of Bayern's visit in a fortnight and Swedish international defender Behrang Safari explained where things went wrong in Romania. "
Before the game we talked about not conceding in the first 15 minutes and yet that's exactly what we did," Safari. "We've done it a couple of times this season and we always wake up but it's something we have to change because we're such a good team."
Australian midfielder Scott Chipperfield almost scored an equaliser as a substitute, his header denied by a solid stop from CFR goalkeeper Nuno Claro. A veteran of Basel's run to the old second group stage in 2002/03, Chipperfield is aware that they need to get off the mark urgently. "If we get a good result against Bayern then we're back in the race," Chipperfield said. "They're favourites to win the group and one of the favourites to win the Champions League."