Basel brush past Chelsea but Londoners advance

Tue Nov 26, 2013 6:37pm EST
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By Brian Homewood

BASEL, Switzerland (Reuters) - Champions League outsiders Basel completed a remarkable double over Chelsea on Tuesday, winning 1-0 with a late Mohamed Salah goal although the stunned visitors still qualified for the last 16.

Chelsea, beaten 2-1 at home by the Swiss club in September when Salah was also on target, reached the knocut stage with a game to spare after Schalke 04 drew 0-0 at Steaua Bucharest but there was nothing else for coach Jose Mourinho to smile about.

Thoroughly outplayed, the 2012 champions only stayed in the match for so long thanks to some splendid goalkeeping from Petr Cech while his opposite number Yann Sommer did not have a single shot to warm him up on a freezing night.

The 87th-minute goal, which Mourinho called "ridiculous", came when Fabian Schaer found Salah with a long pass out of defense and the tricky Egyptian, who pestered Chelsea all night, broke clear down the left before lifting the ball over Cech.

Basel, beaten by eventual title winners Chelsea in last season's Europe League semi-finals, continued an unlikely run of upsets that had also produced home wins over Manchester United and Bayern Munich in the last two seasons.

"From the first minute I was getting signs my team was tired," Mourinho told reporters.

"We made mistakes defensively, we made mistakes with the ball, we lost easy passes, we lost every second ball, people were thinking late and we finished with a ridiculous goal, absolutely ridiculous.

"Maybe I should have made more changes from Saturday but when you play so well it's a big temptation to keep the same team."   Continued...

FC Basel's Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring against Chelsea's during their Champions League Group E soccer match at St. Jakob-Park in Basel November 26, 2013. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich