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UEFA Champions League
6 November 2013
• St. Jakob-Park, Basel
Referee: Olegário Manuel Benquerenca
• Attendance: 30704
G. Sio 90'+
F. Piovaccari 17'
Basel return to Champions League action on November 26 when they look to do the double over Chelsea and boost their hopes of a place for the knockout stages. However, a draw or defeat to Jose Mourinho's side coupled with a Schalke win over Steaua would end their hopes. Thanks for joining me, Max Bentley, on this live commentary. Until next time, goodbye.
That result means that Group E stands as follows: 1st - Chelsea 9 points 2nd - Schalke 6 points 3rd - Basel 5 points 4th - Steaua 2 points
FT: BASEL 1-1 STEAUA. Giovanni Sio's stoppage time equaliser breaks Romanian hearts after Federico Piovaccari had given the visitors a first half lead. Laurentiu Reghecampf's side were on the verge of a first Champions League group stage win in seven years but that late goal means they are still rooted to the bottom of Group E. The Swiss champions hardly tested Ciprian Tatarusanu in the 90 minutes and Murat Yakin will be extremely relieved to have snatched an undeserved point at the death.
FT: BASEL 1-1 STEAUA. All over in Switzerland.
90' + 3'
The home fans are really behind their team now as they urge them to get forward in search of another goal. Stocker marauds down the left again but his cross is headed clear crucially by Gardos.
90' + 1'
Assist Valentin Stocker
90' + 1'
Goal Giovanni-Guy Yann Sio
SIO GETS THE EQUALISER!!! Basel break Romanian hearts in stoppage time as Stocker crosses the ball into the box from the left and Sio is there to cushion a volley into the bottom corner. It's harsh on Steaua but the home fans do not care!
Basel may have enjoyed more of the possession this evening but this Steaua side have pressed their opponents excellently with a greater hunger and desire to win. We are into three minutes of stoppage time here.
Tamase has got into some brilliant positions this evening but once again he chooses the wrong option and opts to go for goal with Kapetanos better placed in the middle. Steaua are less than five minutes away from their first Champions League group stage victory in seven years.
Yellow Card David Degen
Degen has not been on the field long and he picks up a booking for a soft challenge on Tamase. Time is running out for the Swiss champions.
Incidentally, Demba Ba has scored a goal to put Chelsea 3-0 ahead against Schalke.
A third and final change for Basel as David Degen comes on for his first Champions League appearance of the season in place of Mohamed Salah. His brother, Philipp, actually played for Liverpool.
Basel continue to look for a way to break down the Steaua defence and the fans voice their frustration. Streller was critical of his coach after the draw in Romania. I wonder how he will feel after this match, Basel have been really poor this evening.
Yellow Card Fabian Schaer
Fabian Schar is shown a yellow card for a mistimed tackle on Kapetanos. He can have no complaints about that one.
Tamase delivers the set piece but his delivery is poor and easily cleared by Streller. I don't think either goalkeeper has made a save in this second half.
Giovanni Sio has looked lively since coming on for Basel and he finds space inside the box before his goalbound effort is well blocked by Szukala.
Final change for Steaua as the goalscorer Federico Piovaccari is replaced by Pantelis Kapetanos who scored for Cluj in that play-off win over Basel last season. Will the Italian prove to be the matchwinner? Fourteen minutes remaining.
Gardos has been magnificent alongside Szukala and he uses his strength to prevent Salah from latching onto Streller's pass down the right. Basel are running out of ideas here.
GOOD CHANCE FOR BASEL! Streller's clever reverse pass sets up Stocker on the left side of the box but he tries to roll the ball across for Salah rather than going for goal and Gardos makes a crucial interception to clear the ball behind.
Basel are looking for to exploit their opponents down the wings but Georgievski and Latovlevici have both stood up to the task so far. Basel need to get Salah on the ball more, he has looked perhaps their most liveliest attacker.
Basel win a corner out on the left but Frei sums up his team's performance as he sends the ball straight into the hands of Tatarusanu. This side is almost unrecognisable from the one which won at Stamford Bridge on matchday one.
For all their possession, Basel have really struggled to penetrate this Steaua defence and Szukala in particular has been mightily impressive. Is the Romanian's search for a first win in 21 Champions League group stage games about to come to an end?
Matias Emilio Delgado
Giovanni-Guy Yann Sio
After Alexandru Chipciu comes on to replace Nicolae Stanciu for the visitors, Basel respond with a change of their own as Ivory Coast international Giovani Sio replaces Matias Delgado.
Nicolae Claudiu Stanciu
Alexandru Mihăiţă Chipciu
WHAT A CHANCE FOR BASEL! After Stocker sees his goalbound effort deflected over the bar for a corner, Ivanov rises highest to meet Delgado's set piece but glances a header inches past the post. That is the closest Basel have come to scoring.
GOOD CHANCE FOR STEAUA! The Romanians launch a counterattack and Stanciu slips a neat ball behind the Basel defence for Piovaccari but the striker delays his shot and Salah tracks back brilliantly to make the challenge.
This is a slightly better spell for Basel and Tatarusanu rushes off his line quickly to punch clear Stocker's free kick from the right. Can the Swiss side find an equaliser with just over half an hour to play?
There are minor appeals for a Basel penalty as the ball seems to strike the arm of Latovlevici but the referee is not interested and waves play on.
Popa gets past Xhaka easily down the right and he fires a dangerous low cross into the box which is shuffled behind nervously by Serey Die. The Ivorian is furious with the Basel defence, they are getting opened up too easily.
In the other game in Group E, Samuel Eto'o has scored again to give Chelsea a 2-0 lead over Schalke.
Salah produces some brilliant footwork to get away from Filip on the edge of the box but he cannot find Stocker with his attempted through pass as Voser intercepts. The home side then win a free kick but Stocker's effort disappointingly strikes the wall.
Steaua win a free kick on the left side of the box and Stanciu tries to catch out Sommer but he can only find the side netting with his cheeky effort. Basel are readying their substitutes on the touchline.
It is the Romanians who continue to apply the pressure here and it does not seem that Yakin's teamtalk has made a diffence at the break. I would expect to see a Basel substitution shortly.
Steaua start the second half brightly as Gardos comes forward from defence but he is frustrated as he does not feel that Popa makes a good enough run to receive the pass.
Mihai Doru Pintilii
Lucian Ionuţ Filip
Steaua get the second half underway and they have made a change as Pintilii has not recovered from that injury sustained at the end of the first half. Lucian Filip has come on to replace him. I'm surprised Murat Yakin has not made any substitutions for the hosts.
The good news for Basel fans however is that they have scored 17 of their last 20 goals in the second half.
HT: BASEL 0-1 STEAUA. The Romanians hold a deserved lead at the break courtesy of Federico Piovaccari's well-taken goal. Murat Yakin's side are yet to seriously test Ciprian Tatarusanu and they were understandably booed off by the fans when the first-half whistle was blown. As things stand, Steaua are heading for their first Champions League group stage win in 21 matches.
Injury concern for Steaua here as Pintilii goes off on a stretcher. Reghecampf will be hopeful he can recover over the half time interval.
GREAT DOUBLE SAVE FROM SOMMER! Steaua nearly double their lead when Szukala's firm header is well saved by the Basel goalkeeper who then gets up quickly to tip Gardos' rebound expertly around the post. From the resulting corner, Szukala powers another header just wide.
Yellow Card I. Ivanov
CHANCE FOR BASEL! The home fans are beginning to get restless here as Tatarusanu has hardly been tested in the Steaua goal. Salah jinks past Gardos on the edge of the box but his tame shot is easily collected by the Romanian goalkeeper.
Yellow Card Alexandru Bourceanu
Bourceanu is shown a yellow card after a mistimed challenge on Delgado. We have five minutes remaining until the break here and I can imagine Yakin will have some stern words for his players.
In the other match in Group E, Chelsea lead Schalke 1-0 courtesy of a Samuel Eto'o strike. A win for Basel would take them up to second place but as things stand, they will be bottom of the group.
Latovlevici attempts to play in Piovaccari down the left but the goalscorer is denied a route to goal by a brilliant challenge from Ivanov. The Romanians continue to look dangerous on the break.
Szukala has been brilliant at the back for Steaua so far and he produces a well-timed last-ditch challenge to prevent Stocker from poking home from close range. Remember that the Romanians have not kept a clean sheet in the group stages of this competition in their last 24 attempts.
The travelling fans are making themselves heard here as their side continue to pass the ball around with relative ease. Murat Yakin already has his subs warming up.
Steaua are looking so composed in defence and they are happy to pass the ball out from the back. The Romanians have not won on their last four trips to Switzerland.
Latovlevici and Tamase combine well down the left for Steaua but the latter's shot is well blocked by Pintilii on the edge of the box. Laurentiu Reghecampf will be delighted with the performance of his side so far.
Yellow Card Federico Piovaccari
Federico Piovaccari is shown a yellow card for a late tackle on Frei.
GOOD CHANCE FOR BASEL! Salah shows his pace for the first time in the game as latches onto Streller's pass to surge into the box but he cannot quite pick out a teammate in the middle and Sommer smothers his cutback briliantly.
The Basel players are looking frustrated out on the field and Serey Die needs to be in the right place to prevent Piovaccari getting on the end of Tamase's knockdown. Is this really the same side which won at Stamford Bridge?
Yakin's side have responded well to going behind but Delgado hits a free kick disappointingly into the gloves of Tatarusanu. The Romanians are looking to catch the hosts out on the break here.
Basel have the chance to respond immediately but Frei leans back and blasts the ball over the bar after getting on the end of Voser's cutback from the right. Can the Swiss champions find an equaliser?
Assist Łukasz Szukala
Goal Federico Piovaccari
STEAUA TAKE THE LEAD! Piovaccari was denied a penalty moments ago but he puts the Romanians ahead. The Italian gets in between the two Basel centre backs and springs the offside trap to meet Szukala's fantastic long ball before firing high into the net with aplomb. Brilliant finish.
PENALTY SHOUT FOR STEAUA! Piovaccari is screaming for a penalty when he is shoulder barged off the ball in the box by Schar. The referee waves away the striker's appeals and it seems that the Basel centre-back has got away with one there.
DELGADO GOES CLOSE! The Argentine curls a brilliant effort over the wall but it just misses the top left-hand corner with Tatarusanu scrambling across his goalmouth.
Yellow Card Łukasz Szukala
Szukala picks up an early yellow card as he halts Frei's mazy dribble by handballing the ball on the edge of the box. Good free kick opportunity for the hosts here.
Despite their poor European form in recent years, Steaua are in fact the only Romanian side to triumph in Europe when they won the European Champion Clubs' Cup, beating Barcelona, in the 1985/86 season.
Steaua are starting to settle into the game here and they enjoy a sustained spell of possession. Neither side has managed a shot on goal so far.
Basel did, of course, reach the Europa League semi-finals last season, coming so close to becoming the first Swiss side to reach a major European final. They have beaten some big names at home in the past, notably Manchester United two years ago. However, they were knocked out of the Champions League last season by Romanian opposition when Cluj defeated them in the play-off.
Basel are looking to make a bright start and Stocker finds space down the left but his low cross is well hacked clear by Gardos.
The referee blows his whistle and Basel get the game underway. Can they knock out their Romanian opponents with a victory to keep up the pressure on Schalke and Chelsea at the top of Group E?
Captains Marco Streller and Alexandru Bourceanu begin their respective handshakes between the sides after the Champions League anthem booms around the stadium. It always gives me goosebumps! Basel are in their traditional red and blue strip with Steaua in their alternative sky blue jerseys.
Steaua Bucharest have only kept one clean sheet in their last 24 Champions League matches while their last group stage victory in this competition came 20 games ago away to Dynamo Kyiv in September 2006. Can they put an end to either of those streaks this evening? The teams finally emerge from the tunnel and onto the field to a brilliant atmosphere at St. Yakob-Park with the home fans waving plenty of flags and in fine voice.
Basel make two changes to the side which drew 1-1 in Romania with Matias Delgado and Taulant Xhaka replacing Marcelo Diaz and the injured Behrang Safari. Steaua Bucharest name an unchanged side with Tatu once again on the bench despite his late equaliser against the Swiss champions two weeks ago.
STEAUA (4-2-3-1): Tatarusanu; Georgievski, Szukala, Gardos, Latovlevici; Pintilii, Bourceanu; Popa, Stanciu, Tanase; Piovaccari.
BASEL (4-2-3-1): Sommer; Voser, Schar, Ivanov, Xhaka; Serey Die, Frei; Salah, Delgado, Stocker; Streller.
Without further ado, here are today's lineups...
Both clubs have been in superb domestic form and top their respective leagues. The 1-0 defeat to Schalke is Basel's only defeat in their last 16 matches, whilst their Romanian opponents have won nine and drawn two of their eleven league games so far.
Standing in the opposing dugout this evening is Laurentiu Reghecampf and in fact, both coaches enjoyed playing spells in Germany at Kaiserslautern although at different times. Which tactician will get the upper hand this evening?
A late strike from Leandro Tatu ensured that Steaua got their Champions League group stage campaign off the mark just over two weeks ago, cancelling out Marcelo Diaz's fine opener in a 1-1 draw. A win for Basel tonight would knock Steaua out of the Champions League however and Swiss coach Murat Yakin has told his players that only three points will do.
With only five points separating Champions League Group E leaders Chelsea from bottom side Steaua Bucharest, all four teams still harbour hopes of reaching the knockout stages. Basel started their European campaign in fine form by beating Chelsea away from home but their form has stuttered since, losing at home to Schalke and drawing away to today's opponents Steaua, giving the Romanians their sole point in the group. Can the two sides be separated in Switzerland? Bringing you all the action from St. Yakob-Park, my name is Max Bentley.
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