Before the fixture:
Raphael Wicky reverted back to a 3-4-3 system for international competition, after playing with four defenders in the domestic league. Since Éder Balanta injured himself during FCB´s fixture against FC Thun, Taulant Xhaka was chosen to play a defensive role. Léo Lacroix was selected to play in FCB´s starting lineup for the 1st time. In comparison to FCB´s team against FC Thun, there were two more changes: Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Raoul Petretta were on the bench and were replaced by Fabian Frei and Blas Riveros.
The first half:
Neither teams needed much time to get to business: After two minutes Ilkay Gündogan tested Tomas Vaclik with a daring header. Blas Riveros´ long cross reached Dimitri Oberlin, who´s header was directed towards keeper Ederson. Oberlin managed to sneak the ball past Ederson but Kyle Walker intercepted the ball. Minutes later it was Oberlin again who was in the center of attention, when he fell to the ground inside the box after contact made by Nicolas Otamendi; the ref decided against a penalty. Now it was Manchester City´s time to shine; scoring 3 goals in 10 minutes.
Kevin De Bruynes´s corner kick reached Gündogan who headed the ball into the back of the net. It was Léo Lacroix who flicked Raheem Sterling´s cross towards Bernardo Silva, who then beat Vaclik from close distance, 2:0. Just moments later Sergio Agüero scored with a cracking long range shot, 3:0. After the 3rd goal the game cooled down but the visiting team was still closer to scoring a 4th goal than Basel their 1st.
The 2nd half:
The 1st chance of the 2nd half was created by FCB; a long range shot by Mohamed Elyounoussi. Keeper Ederson saved Basel´s attempt on target and soon after it was Man City who scored another goal: Gündogan scored from just outside of the box; 4:0. After the 4th goal, City didn’t create as much danger and Basel managed to create several chances. Oberlin´s header just failed to hit the target (67.), Elyounoussi´s shot was saved by Ederson and Oberlin´s freekick was simply not precise enough. In the last phase of the fixture, Tomas Vaclik just manged to block a close range shot by Gündogan.
After the fixture:
Raphael Wicky was unhappy about how his team conceded their goals: „The 1st goals resulted from a corner kick, the 2nd from a throw-in (our throw-in). We would have needed a perfect night in order to have achieved a positive result. We needed the same amount of efficiency which was demonstrated by our opponents.”
The chances of qualification are now virtually nonexistent. Man City´s team was stronger and more efficient than their opponent, making the final score more than acceptable. Based on the financial means and quality of players of both clubs, the result was no surprise. It was tough to be trailing behind by 3 goals within the 1st 45 minutes, but on the other hand FCB can be more than proud to have reached this stage of the competition. It´s an honorable affair to have the chance to compete against a team of such quality. There are still 90 minutes to play.. but before Man City and FCB meet again, the Swiss Champions face FC St. Gallen in the Swiss Super League (Saturday, 7pm, St. Jakob-Park.
FC Basel 1893 – Manchester City FC 0:4 (0:3)
St. Jakob-Park. – Attendance 36‘000 (Sold Out Stadium). – Referee Jonas Eriksson (Sweden).
Goals: 14. Gündogan 0:1 (De Bruyne). 18. Bernardo Silva 0:2. 23. Agüero 0:3. 53. Gündogan 0:4.
FCB: Vaclik; Xhaka, Lacroix, Suchy; Lang, Serey Die, Frei, Riveros; Elyounoussi (85. Bua), Oberlin, Stocker (71. Ajeti).
Manchester City: Ederson; Walker, Kompany, Otamendi, Delph; De Bruyne (63. David Silva), Fernandinho, Gündogan; Bernardo Silva, Agüero (85. Danilo), Sterling (57. Sané).
Notes: FCB without Balanta and Vailati (both injured). Manchester City without Gabriel Jesus, Mendy (both injured). Substitutes FCB: Ajeti, Bua, Manzambi, Petretta, Salvi, van Wolfswinkel and Zuffi. – Yellow Cards: 38. Xhaka .59. Fernandinho. 89. Serey Die .89. Gündogan.