An inspired performance between the posts by Yann Sommer kept the Bavarian giants at bay, before the late strike sealed a gripping first-leg triumph for the hostsBasel pulled off a shock 1-0 win at home to Bayern Munich in their Champions League round of 16 first leg clash at St. Jakob Park.
Substitute Valentin Stocker scored the only goal with five minutes remaining, but the real hero was Yann Sommer, whose heroic saves halted the visitors time and time again and preserved a slender advantage for the second leg in Munich.
The game started at a breakneck pace, and the visitors almost made the perfect start four minutes in. Arjen Robben’s dink picked out Franck Ribery inside the area, but his effort from close range was thwarted superbly by Sommer.
Ribery was at it again a few minutes later after he was played through on goal by Phillip Lahm, but Sommer was alert once more to palm away his effort low at his near post.
Basel took little time in recovering from the early pressure, though, and were increasingly able to get forward and find space in and around a suspect Bayern back four.
With quarter of an hour gone, Manuel Neuer was called into action to quickly block Marco Streller’s flick at the near post.
The Germany No. 1 then made an even better save a minute later, showing jaw-dropping reflexes to push Aleksander Dragovic’s point-blank header onto the post.
Chances were coming thick and fast, and the home side were cursing their luck again moments later after Joo-Ho Park teed up Alexander Frei inside the area for a first-time shot that smacked off the crossbar.
The tempo of the game died down somewhat as the first half wore on, but Sommer was called into action again on the half hour mark to get strong hands on David Alaba’s effort from range. Somehow, the match entered half-time with the score still goalless.
Basel created the first opportunity after the interval with Streller easily outjumping Lahm in the area, but his header was lacking and was saved by Neuer.
However, in stark contrast to the opening exchanges, the second period unfolded in a relatively uneventful fashion, as both teams lacked an element of panache in their attack that was so evident in the first half.
Lahm tried to spark things into life in the 66th minute when he let fly from 25 yards out, but Sommer got across well to tip the shot wide.
The Basel keeper was equal to everything that Bayern could throw at him, and came up with the goods again with 20 minutes remaining, rushing off his line to block Gomez expertly from a one-on-one.
Sommer’s heroics were rewarded with five minutes remaining, as Jacques Zoua strode across the edge of the Bayern box and played in fellow substitute Stocker, who had enough time and space to slot past Neuer and send the Swiss outfit into dreamland.
Bayern were unable to muster a response in the time that remained, leaving Basel with a lead to protect for the second leg at the Allianz Arena in three weeks’ time.
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