Cluj edge close contest
Basel fightback in vain as Romanian hosts hold on for maximum haul
Last Updated: September 15, 2010 10:52pm
Cluj kick-off their campaign with three points
Cluj made light of replacing their coach just 48 hours before kick-off as they kicked off their UEFA Champions League campaign with a 2-1 win over FC Basel.
The Romanian hosts made a flying start as goals from Ionut Rada and Lacina Traore in the first 12 minutes put them on course for a maximum haul.
Cluj, in their second Champions League campaign, fired Andrea Mandorlini on Monday after an indifferent start to the season and replaced him with Sorin Cart and it was an impressive display with which he marked his debut in the dugout.
Valentin Stocker's goal on the stroke of half-time gave Basel hope of an unlikely comeback but Cluj repelled their second half attempts at finding a leveller.
Both teams won league and cup doubles in their respective countries last season but are rank outsiders in a group which also features Bayern Munich and Roma.
The Romanians made a flying start, taking the lead in the ninth minute when defender Rada rose above the Basel defence to head in from a corner.
Three minutes later, Ivorian striker Traore headed the second after Juan Culio chipped the ball back from the byline following a quick counter-attack.
After a bright start, Cluj dropped back into defence and the game turned scrappy. With dozens of empty seats and no stand at all behind one of the goals, it felt anything like a match in football's richest and most prestigious club tournament.
Cluj goalkeeper Nuno Claro made his first save just after the half hour, turning a Benjamin Huggel header over his crossbar, but was beaten in first-half stoppage time when Stocker scored with a near post header from a corner.
Basel had plenty of possession in the second half although they failed to create many clearcut chances while the Romanians occasionally looked threatening on the break.
Substitute Scott Chipperfield had Basel's best effort when his header was tipped over by Claro.
|CFR Cluj||Team Statistics||Basel|
|2||1st Half Goals||1|
|3||Shots on Target||3|
|1||Shots off Target||5|
UEFA Champions League
Wed 15th Sep - Group E
Bay Munich2 - 0Roma
Cluj2 - 1Basel
Wed 15th Sep - Group F
Marseille0 - 1Spartak Mos
Zilina1 - 4Chelsea
Wed 15th Sep - Group G
R Madrid2 - 0Ajax
AC Milan2 - 0Auxerre
Wed 15th Sep - Group H
Arsenal6 - 0Braga
Shak Donetsk1 - 0Partizan
UEFA Champions League Group A
|1||Paris St Germain||6||15|
UEFA Champions League Group B
UEFA Champions League Group C
|3||Zenit St. Petersburg||6||7|
UEFA Champions League Group D
UEFA Champions League Group E
UEFA Champions League Group F
UEFA Champions League Group G
UEFA Champions League Group H