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UEFA Champions League

St Jakob Park (ATT 27,000) 23rd November 2010 - Kick off 19:45 Ref: L Duhamel

Basel Basel vs CFR Cluj-Napoca Cluj

Basel 1

F Almerares (15)

ft

Cluj 0

F Piccolo (S/O 88)

Basel dreams stay alive

Almerares' goal gives Swiss a chance of reaching the last 16

Last Updated: 23/11/10 11:04pm

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Almerares: Basel's hero battles against the Cluj defence

Almerares: Basel's hero battles against the Cluj defence

Basel's dreams of reaching the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League for the first time remain a possible reality after a 1-0 victory over CFR Cluj at St Jakob Park.

Man of the Match: Federico Almerares. The Argentine scored the only goal of the game and was a constant menace to the Cluj defence. Moment of the Match: Cluj coach Sorin Cartu taking out his frustration on the away side's dugout as he put his foot through the Perspex. He will surely face Uefa action. Save of the Match: Cluj goalkeeper Nuno Claro getting his foot to an Alexander Frei shot in order to deflect the ball onto the crossbar. Talking Point: Can Basel upset the odds and reach the knockout rounds of the Champions League? Did Felice Piccolo deserve to be sent off?

The Swiss club reached the second group stage in 2002/03, at the expense of Liverpool, but they have never been involved in the two-legged latter rounds of Europe's premier club competition.

Federico Almerares' 15th minute goal therefore carried great significance and means that Thorsten Fink's men will travel to already-qualified Bayern Munich in their last match of Group E with a faint chance of catching second-placed Roma.

Cluj cannot reach the knockout rounds and the Romanians did not seem to be committed on Tuesday night, with Felice Piccolo's late, petulant red card epitomising their performance.

In the first minute, Basel midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri's long-range left-foot shot was off target.

Scuffed

Cluj's Juan Emanuel Culio should have done better after three minutes as he opted to chest down rather than head a cross but the ball dropped to goalkeeper Franco Costanzo.

Fifteen minutes in, and a 60 seconds after being booked, Almerares got on the end of a low shot from Samuel Inkoom to open the scoring.

Inkoom had shaped to shoot from distance, but scuffed his effort across goal and Almerares got behind his marker to shoot under Nuno Claro.

Within two minutes, Basel could have been further ahead after Almerares worked space inside the area and passed to Alexander Frei, but his shot was blocked by Ionut Rada and Felice Piccolo cleared off the line.

Rafael Bastos had Cluj's first real effort after nearly 35 minutes, but following a strong run from his own half he shot well over from distance.

Frustration

Basel were denied just before the hour when a shot from Fwayo Tembo was deflected onto the bar by goalkeeper Nuno Claro's foot.

Frei thought he had doubled the lead with 16 minutes to go, but he was flagged offside on the edge of the six-yard area as he steered a shot from Tembo past Nuno Claro.

Cluj coach Sorin Cartu took out his frustration on the away side's dugout as he put his foot through the Perspex side.

And Cluj played the last two minutes with 10 men after Piccolo was show a red card when he pushed over Almerares.

BaselTeam StatisticsCFR Cluj
1Goals0
11st Half Goals0
3Shots on Target0
10Shots off Target3
10Blocked Shots2
6Corners0
17Fouls19
4Offsides1
1Yellow Cards3
0Red Cards1
83.4Passing Success72.9
19Tackles25
89.5Tackles Success76
63.6Possession36.4
55.8Territorial Advantage44.2

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2 Roma 2 4
3 Manchester City 2 1
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