Claudio Ranieri's future is back in doubt
After Marco Borriello had pegged back Alexander Frei’s opener, full-back Samuel Inkoom struck before the break and despite large periods of pressure, Roma couldn’t recover the deficit, with Jerson Cabral adding a late third to rub salt into the wounds.
Basel took the lead in 12 minutes when Frei drilled home an excellent left-foot shot after Marco Streller beat Philippe Mexes in the air and Nicolas Burdisso was caught out at the back.
The Swiss were hanging on gamely to their lead until the 21st minute when Borriello was sent clear by a magnificent Francesco Totti through ball and the ex-Milan striker finished expertly with a chipped left foot strike.
Totti nearly put the home side in front when he slid a left-foot shot across goal just wide, but it was Basel who were to regain the lead just before half-time. Xherdan Shaqiri neatly played a ball through the right channel for the overlapping Inkoom, who beat Simone Perrotta to the ball before toeing a superb effort across Bogdan Lobont and into the far corner.
Totti again came close to scoring soon after the break when he belted a right foot shot just wide of the far post as Roma lifted the tempo in the hope of pulling level once more. They came even closer on 58 minutes, when Rodrigo Taddei’s cross-shot came back off the far post with keeper Franco Costanzo beaten.
Despite the hosts' territorial advantage, the Swiss always looked dangerous on the break in the second period, making for a very open and intriguing encounter. Benjamin Huggel could easily have stretched Basel’s lead, but his header was miscued, before Borriello almost got on the end of a neat Totti pass.
Totti was again involved with only a minute to go, but his free-kick was well saved by the diving Costanzo as Basel retreated in their attempts to hang on to the lead. With Roma throwing the kitchen sink forward late on, Jerson Cabral struck the sucker punch with a third goal to confirm Basel's superb win.
The result leaves the second qualification spot in the group wide open, with Roma, Basel and Cluj all on three points after three games, with Bayern Munich clear at the top on nine points. It will make the return fixture on matchday four all the more important now, given that the Giallorossi are fast running out of time to put distance between themselves and the so-called minnows, and with Claudio Ranieri facing further questions over his future.