Man Utd Beaten By Basel After 'Perfect First Half - Without The Goals'

November 23, 2017

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho says his side should have been five or six goals ahead by half-time of their Champions League defeat by Basel. United dominated the first half of their penultimate group game, with Marouane Fellaini and Marcos Rojo hitting the woodwork. But, on the brink of securing the point they needed to reach the knockout stage, the visitors were undone by Michael Lang's 89th-minute goal. "The first half was the perfect half - without the goals. I cannot complain. I cannot blame the players," said Mourinho. "I think if we play a match like this 10 times, nine we win comfortably. In one we lose - and the one was now."

Renato Steffen and Dimitri Oberlin had already gone close for the hosts in the second half before Lang turned in Raoul Petretta's cross at the back post. Anything better than a seven-goal defeat by CSKA Moscow in their final group game on 5 December would still guarantee United their place in the last 16.

Basel belatedly live up to pre-match hype

Basel emerged before kick-off to the backdrop of a huge banner promising the sort of atmosphere that has spooked the likes of Liverpool,Chelsea,Tottenham and United in recent years. It appeared an empty gesture in a first half during which United enjoyed 74% possession and the hosts failed to have a shot on target. But United could not translate that dominance to the scoresheet and were stretched out of shape from the start of the second half.

The Swiss side, seven points off the top of their domestic league, found space and little resistance in midfield, and the pace of Lang, Oberlin and Mohamed Elyounoussi helped them grow in danger. The crowd increased in volume and the home side's chances increased in frequency, with Geoffroy Serey Die bringing a good save out of Sergio Romero, before Lang's decisive blow.


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