FC Basel 1893 were thrilled to defy pre-match billing with a 2-0 defeat of a much-fancied AS Roma, with Valentin Stocker saying: "We were classed as the underdogs and that was good for us."
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Valentin Stocker and Marco Streller were united in their agreement that being underdogs inspired FC Basel 1893 to a 2-0 defeat of a much-fancied AS Roma side in UEFA Europa League Group E.
An early strike from Carlitos and a late goal from substitute Federico Almerares earned Basel, languishing in seventh in the ten-team Swiss Super League, an eye-catching victory against a club who are one of the favourites for the inaugural competition. Stocker, who was replaced in added time by David Unal, said: "We were classed as the underdogs and that was good for us.
"They have world champions in their team and, when we heard we had to play against them, we knew it would be very hard but it was a sensational effort from us. They are still the favourites but our chance was that Roma have a new coach [Claudio Ranieri] with new ideas. It's a pity there weren't more fans but it was a fantastic match for those who turned up."
Basel, who played six matches to reach the group stage from the second qualifying round, are outsiders in a section which also contains PFC CSKA Sofia and Fulham FC. "Basel are always good when we are the underdogs against better teams," said Streller, who hit the crossbar with an acrobatic volley in the second half. "We played very well for the whole 90 minutes, Roma didn't have many chances but there were a lot of for us."
Midfielder Scott Chipperfield believes that making St. Jakob-Park a venue to be feared will be key to Bebbi reaching the knockout stages. "We hope to win our home games in Europe; we normally play well at home," he said. "Roma are a good side, but at the moment they're probably not in top form."
'Long way to go'
The Australian international was also thrilled with Basel's defensive display having conceded nine goals in their last four league games. "We didn't concede a goal and it's been a long time since we kept a clean sheet," he added. "It's a big jump up from the Swiss league but our team has got a lot of international players with plenty of experience at that level and I think we coped pretty well. If we can win our home games and pick up a point or two away, we've got a good chance. It's a good start but there's a long way to go."