(Translated by Thomas Snaith)
Before the game:
Just like in the 1st leg fixture, coach Raphael Wicky played a 3-4-3 system. Midfielder Fabian Frei played in a defensive position. The reason for this change was Éder Balanta´s injury. Taulant Xhaka replaced Balanta in the 1st leg but Xhaka was banned from playing in Manchester due to yellow cards. Luca Zuffi was back from injury and Kevin Bua replaced Valentin Stocker in the offense.
The Czech referee Pavel Kralovec had previously refereed a FCB fixture; semi-final of the UEFA Europa League 2012/2013 at St. Jakob-Park, against Chelsea FC (1:2).
Before of kick-off a minute of silence was held in respect of the death of ACF Fiorentina captain Davide Astori.
The first Half:
The fixture didn’t kick-off in FCB´s favor: Seven minutes into the game, the home team scored. Leroy Sané passed the ball to Bernardo Silva, who´s cross into the box was failed to be stopped by two FCB players, making it easy for Gabriel Jesus to tap the ball into the back of the net. Unimpressed by ManCity´s early goal, FCB´s Blas Riveros set up Mohamed Elyounoussi who scored just 10 minutes after City´s opener. Wicky commented on his team´s 1st goal after the game: “I am very satisfied that we didn´t simply defend as we pushed forward and created space for ourselves. We used the space very effectively.”
Keeper Tomas Vaclik deserves a big compliment as his performance on the night was solid as a rock. Just before FCB´s equalizer, Vaclic managed to stop Ilkay Gündogan from scoring City´s 2nd goal. Both team´s created chances, but it was Elyounoussi who failed to beat Claudio Bravo in front of goal. Based on chances created on both sides, 1:1 was a fair result.
The second half:
The 2nd half started off slowly, but well done FCB as they managed to keep the strongest Premier League offense at bay. For quite some time there was no offensive danger to be seen. However in the 71st minute Elyounoussi skillfully made his way to the edge of ManCity´s penalty box, where he set up Michael Lang. He scored from a tight angle; 2:1! FCB´s victory was nearly denied by Brahim Díaz (substituted on) but Tomas Vaclik was ready. FC Basel 1893 had won their 2nd fixture on English soil. Their first victory; against Chelsea FC in 2014.
After the game:
Basel´s 2:1 victory against Manchester City is yet another respectable result as they depart from the UEFA Champions League. This is the first time FCB managed to win and score away from home during this stage of the competition. Elyounoussi´s equalizer will be noted in FC Basel´s history books. The Swiss Champions started their UCL campaign in Manchester but lost against ManUnited. FCB returned to England´s current football capital as their UCL campaign came to an end, but this time they travel back home with a victory. This was Manchester City´s first home defeat of the season since they lost to Chelsea FC (1:3) on the 3rd of December 2016.
It was always going to be a massive challenge to turn things around after losing the 1st leg in Basel, but despite failing to qualify for the next stage of the competition, FCB departed in style. Raphael Wicky was satisfied with his team´s performance: “I hope my team has gained self-confidence which will help us get back on track. We can be proud of our performance. There is no point in looking too far forward as we now need to focus on our next fixture, against FC Luzern on Sunday. We want another victory.” For now, we can be happy that FCB managed to beat another big team- especially as this victory came unexpectedly, based on recent results.
Manchester City FC – FC Basel 1893 1:2 (1:1)
City of Manchester Stadium. – 49‘411 Attendance. – SR Pavel Kralovec (Czech Republic).
Goals: 7. Gabriel Jesus 1:0 (Bernardo Silva). 17. Elyounoussi 1:1 (Riveros). 71. Lang 1:2 (Elyounoussi).
ManCity: Bravo; Danilo, Stones, Laporte, Zinchenko; Gündogan (66. Díaz), Yaya Touré, Foden (89. Adarabioyo); Bernardo Silva, Gabriel Jesus, Sané.
FCB: Vaclik; Suchy, Frei, Lacroix; Lang, Serey Die, Zuffi, Riveros; Bua (68. Stocker), Oberlin (73. van Wolfswinkel), Elyounoussi.
Notes: ManCity without Fernandinho and Mendy (both injured). FCB without Balanta, Vailati (both injured) and Campo (not registered to play international fixtures). Substitutes FCB: Ajeti, Kaiser, Manzambi, Petretta, Salvi, Stocker and van Wolfswinkel. – Yellow Cards: 44. Lacroix 77. Gabriel Jesus. –Minute of silence held before kick-off for ACF Fiorentina captain, Davide Astori who passed away – 100. European fixture for Marek Suchy.