FC Basel 1893 beat FC Thun 2-1 (H/T: 1-0) at home on Sunday 28 August 2011. Basel put in a dominant performance, especially in the first half, but were made to struggle to the end for all three points after the visitors scored in the 69th minute. The Basel goals were supplied by Alex Frei (13 mins) and Fabian Frei at the start of the second period. The three hard-fought points come as a relief for Basel who move a step closer back to their usual surroundings of the upper regions of the league table.
Time to breathe a sigh of relief. FC Basel are back to winning ways with the 2-1 victory over FC Thun after two defeats in a row and a worrying tally of six points from their first six games of the season. Anything other than a home win against Thun would have made things extremely painful for the Basel faithful. FC Basel Coach Thorsten Fink said after the game though: “I was convinced that we would win today. The season is starting for us now after a sleepy start.”
It was not a classic showing from his side, but a good one, said Fink after Basel moved up to seventh with their second win of the season. Naturally with the weight of expectation that surrounds the Swiss champions that is no real reason to celebrate, but it is a definite step in the right direction. The coach was claiming in the build-up to the game that an FC Basel side that is determined to win matches and win the championship would be on display once again. The determination of his players ultimately proved that Fink is true to his words.
Good start as Basel press hard
The home team started well and pressed their opponents hard, launching quick and piercing attacks with sharp balls forward at every opportunity. After just four minutes Alex Frei was placed one-on-one with Thun goalkeeper David Da Costa but squandered the chance to give Basel an early lead. He made no mistake after 13 minutes, however, when Marco Streller, having been supplied by a superbly weighted Fabian Frei pass, knocked the ball through to the feet of Alex Frei, and the striker completed a cheeky lob that sailed over Da Costa and into the net. The lead was well deserved and Basel continued to attack straight from the re-start as they looked to stamp their authority on the game.
FC Basel’s repeated attacking efforts were not rewarded with a second goal until the second period. Before half-time they had to suffer the misfortune of seeing Marco Streller leave the field with a painful stamp to the hand inflicted accidentally by an opponent during a challenge. The Basel captain’s day was ended with a suspected break in the middle of his hand, although it actually proved not to be as bad as feared and was diagnosed as a heavily bruised and swollen tendon. Streller should now be back in action for the club’s next match in two weeks against Geneva Servette.
Tense final phase
The second half began well for Basel, just as the first had. After 49 minutes Fabian Frei headed home to make it 2-0. The central midfield dynamo leapt past his marker at the far post and neatly converted Alex Frei’s cross from a free-kick from the left side. FC Basel were not able to maintain their high tempo pressing game for the full 90 minutes, however, and the visitors increasingly threatened. Dario Lezcano was the first Thun player to go close, with Yann Sommer able to save a testing shot.
Thun managed to get a goal back with Mauro Lustrinelli heading to make it 1-2, causing plenty of jitters amongst the 29,344 fans at St. Jakob Park as everything was set up for a tense final few minutes. Central defender Arlind Ajeti was cruelly left to curse the goal even more than anyone else in the stadium, as his first sight of action after being substituted on for the injured Radoslav Kovac (groin) was seeing Lustrinelli race past him and score. “He put that behind him very well though and didn’t put another foot wrong,” said Thorsten Fink. In the end, the three points were only secured after left back Joo Ho Park made a stoppage time header away from dangerously close to the goal line to defuse a Lustrinelli cross.
“The team battled well and pressed forward with real pressure, not as restrained as they have been in parts of the last few games,” was Fink’s assessment at the press conference after the final whistle. “We weren’t quite composed enough to kill the game off by getting the third goal after going 2-0 up – but that will come back to us.” He admitted to being pleased with the performance of his team but most appreciative of the three points, above all else. “And we showed the virtues once again that have made us such a strong side – determination and attacking football.”
FC Basel 2–1 FC Thun (H/T: 1-0)
St. Jakob-Park. – Attendance: 29,344. – Ref: Stephan Studer.
Goals: 13’ Alex Frei 1-0 (Streller). 49’ Fabian Frei 2-0 (Alex Frei). 69’ Lustrinelli 2-1.
FC Basel: Sommer; Steinhöfer, Kovac (68. Kovac), Dragovic, Park; Shaqiri, Cabral, Fabian Frei, Schürpf (80. Granit Xhaka); Streller (41. Pak), Alex Frei.
FC Thun: Da Costa; Lüthi, Ghezal, Schindelholz (46. Reinmann), Schirinzi; Schneuwly (78. Wittwer), Demiri (46. Andrist), Bättig, Hediger; Lezcano; Lustrinelli.
Notes: FC Basel without Abraham, Stocker, Yapi, Chipperfield, Zoua, Kusunga (all njured) and Huggel (suspended). FC Thun Matic (injured). – Bookings: 31. Dragovic (dissent). 36. Schindelholz (foul). 49. Lüthi (dissent). 56. Schürpf (foul). 61. Hediger (foul). 83. Andrist (foul). 84. Alex Frei (unsporting behaviour). 92. G. Xhaka.
Cabral performed well against Thun in central midfield.
Joo Ho Park has some good moments in his second match at left back.
Marco Streller had to leave the field in the first half with a hand injury.
(Photos: Sacha Grossenbacher)
Translated by Dan Billingham email@example.com