FC Basel vs Manchester United; 5 Key Talking Points
Score: FC Basel 1-0 Manchester United
Scorer(s): Michael Lang 89'
Basel pulled off an upset in Group A as they pipped United with a late, late, goal that saw them gain the upper hand against CSKA Moscow in the battle for 2nd place - and continued participation in the world's premier football tournament.
Manchester United, though, are as good as through to the next stage, and they are almost certain to top the group. In fact, it would take a Basel victory and a 4-0 thrashing by CSKA, at Old Trafford may I add, to stop United topping the group.... a 6-0 loss, and United could, still, end up in the Europa League.
While this borders on the impossible, if there's one thing we learned tonight it was that...
#5 You can never take it easy, not at this level
United walked into this game assuming they'd already qualified and every part of their game signaled it - the passing was lazy, the finishing lackadaisical, the crossing atrocious - and it would hurt that they were overwhelmed by Basel in the second half after completely running the show in the first.. as Rio Ferdinand put it, "Nobody likes losing and the manner of how they lost will hurt. When you have had a first-half as convincing as that, to come out in the second-half and let the game become so open, is not professional on their part."
Jose Mourinho will be furious with his players for letting this happen on his watch, but Raphael Wicky and his men deserve all the credit in the world for taking the game by the scruff of the neck, swarming midfield to prevent United from controlling the game, and targetting United's most vulnerable areas... their fullbacks.
Basel, on their part, continue their extremely impressive record against English teams at home