(Translated by Thomas Snaith)
Before the game:
In his third competitive game for FCB, Ciriaco Sforza relied on the same starting formation that qualified his team for the third qualifying round of the Europa League in Osijek a week ago. FCB´s coach had to do without the injured Elis Isufi, Yannick Marchand, Raoul Petretta, Taulant Xhaka and Luca Zuffi as well as Edon Zhegrova, who was not yet eligible to play. As runners-up in the Cypriot First Division, Anorthosis Famagusta were able to jump straight into this stage this competition. For the first time, the Cypriots found themselves in the situation in which a single fixture decided on elimination and advancement in the European Cup.
The first half:
FCB got off to a perfect start: just three minutes had been played when Rotblau took the lead. After a free kick by Samuele Campos, Silvan Widmer scored 1-0 from about ten meters away from goal. Rotblau used the momentum of this lead and soon increased the score to 2-0. After 12 minutes, Campo intercepted a pass from Margaça and struck a long-range shot over the keeper, hitting the ball onto the lower side of the crossbar, into the goal. Goalkeeper Giorgi Loris still managed to touch the ball with his fingertips but was unable to deflect the ball – what a goal! The next play by the guests' goalkeeper looked less impressive; he blocked Andrea Padula's long-range shot, Arthur Cabral followed with another shot on target which ricocheted off into the path of Hovhannes Hambartsumyan to make it 3-0 (own goal). A great result for FCB just 21 minutes into the first half.
AFTER THE 3:0 we lost the dedication to fully complete our offensive attacks. AFTER THE 1:3 WE became insecure.
Up until shortly before the break, the guests did not create any danger for FCB, apart from a few set pieces. Just before the halftime break the visitors created a good chance and the Cypriots were extremely efficient: Branko Vrgoc scored a direct shot, 16 meters from goal, 1: 3.
The second half:
As in the last two games, FCB was unable to maintain their quality in the second half and started to show weakness. Even though the Cypriots were one man down after 50 minutes - as Tornike Okriashvilis, was send off for diving (2nd yellow card), FCB became less dangerous. With an extra player on the pitch, FCB was not able to take control of the game. On the contrary: after 65 minutes, Giorgi Kvilitaia scored the 2:3 via penlaty. Padula's foul on Hambartsumyan resulted in the penalty kick, however, the foul took place outside of the box.
WE were in controll BUT WE were not ABLE TO BRING CALMness INTO THE GAME.
It was positive that the hosts denied the Cypriots any further chances, making it very unlikely that they would give away the lead. In stoppage time Djordje Nikolic needed to intervene on one occasion. Before that, Julian von Moos was sent off as he was shown his 2nd yellow card of the night. FCB were a plyer down but still had opportunities to score another goal.
After the game:
After 20 minutes you got the feeling that FCB would win the game without any problems. As in the last few games, however, Basel was unable to maintain the high intensity of the first half and after a strong start they lost confidence.
THE FOOTBALL we played in THE FIRST 20 minutes is what i would like to see during the entire game.
The most important thing was to qualify for the play-offs and in the end Rotblau deserved victory. In the last round ahead of the group stage of the Europa League, FCB will host CSKA Sofia next Thursday. Before that, however, Sforza´s team travel to Geneva, where a difficult away game against Servette FC lies ahead. Kick-Off is on Sunday (4 p.m., Stade de Genève).
FC Basel 1893 – Anorthosis Famagusta FC 3:2 (3:1)
St. Jakob-Park. – No Supporters. – Referee Radu Petrescu (Rumänien).
Goals: 3. Widmer 1:0 (Campo). 12. Campo 2:0. 21. Own goal Hambartsumyan 3:0. 45. Vrgoc 3:1 (Schildenfeld). 66. Kvilitaia 3:2.
FCB: Nikolic; Widmer, Cömert, Alderete, Padula; Stocker (76. Oberlin), Frei, Campo (86. van der Werff), Pululu (60. von Moos); van Wolfswinkel; Cabral.
Anorthosis Famagusta: Loria; Hambartsumyan, Schildenfeld, Vrgoc, Selin (78. Galitsios), Anderson Correia (46. Christofi); Kostakis Artymatas, Margaça (61. Micha), Daushvili; Okriashvili, Kvilitaia.
Notes: FCB without Isufi, Marchand, Petretta, Xhaka, Zuffi (alle injured) und Zhegrova (not allowed to play). Anorthosis Famagusta without Manias (suspended). Substitutes FCB: Bunjaku, Lindner, Oberlin, Riveros, Tushi, van der Werff and von Moos. – Yellow-Red Cards: 50. Okriashvili 88. von Moos. Yellow Card: 18. Widmer 27. Alderete. 33. Okriashvili. 61. von Moos. 65. Padula. 68. Hambartsumyan. 84. Kvilitaia. 86. Nikolic.