Swiss champions FC Basel claimed another English Premier League scalp when they deservedly beat a sloppy Liverpool 1-0 with a Marco Streller goal in the Champions League on Wednesday. The Basel captain turned the ball in from close range after goalkeeper Simon Mignolet saved a goal-bound header seven minutes into the second half as the Swiss pulled off another European upset.
Basel, who bounced back from a 5-1 mauling by Real Madrid in their opening game, have previously beaten Chelsea and Manchester United in the Champions League in the last four seasons and knocked Tottenham Hotspur out of the Europa League.
Liverpool, who began Group B with a home win over Ludogorets Razgrad, gave Basel goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik very little to do and Raheem Sterling fluffed their best chance in the 75th minute when Adam Lallana sent him clear but he hesitated too long and
Liverpool and Basel both have three points after two games, behind Real Madrid who top the group with six. Steven Gerrard summed up Liverpool’s evening when he wasted two early set pieces with poor delivery.
Basel were the better side in the first half although Simon Mignolet had to make only one save, when he blocked Geoffroy Serey Die’s toe-poked effort after the Ivorian midfielder waltzed his way into the Liverpool area. With Ahmed Hamoudi and Breel Embolo both lively, Basel got into plenty of dangerous positions but the final pass often let them down.
Mignolet was called into action again early in the second half when he blocked Hamoudi’s angled drive after the energetic Egyptian got away down the left following the breakdown of a Liverpool attack.
But he was beaten as Liverpool failed to deal with the resulting corner.
Danny Welbeck’s hat-trick in a 4-1 thrashing of a feeble Galatasaray side helped ignite Arsenal’s Champions League campaign in a lop-sided Group D clash in north London on Wednesday. The England striker pounced twice before halftime and again after the break to virtually double his career Champions League tally and continue Galatasaray’s tale of woe in England where they had not won in nine previous visits.
Alexis Sanchez ended the match as a contest before halftime as Galatasaray’s resistance crumbled, although a second-half red card for Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny slightly tarnished the 18th anniversary of manager Arsene Wenger’s arrival at the club. The night belonged to Welbeck, however, as the former Manchester United bit-part forward justified Wenger’s faith in signing him in the recent transfer window.
Welbeck, who was a five-year-old boy when Wenger took charge of Arsenal, helped the Gunners make light of several injuries with a commanding display of front-running that terrorised Galatasaray’s overstretched defence. He had wasted a couple of chances in the 2-0 defeat by Borussia Dortmund a fortnight ago but was far more clinical on home turf, scoring twice in the opening 30 minutes. Galatasaray’s supporters showed plenty of passion at The Emirates, keeping up a cacophony of sound for most of the first half and launching numerous flares onto the pitch.