Needing just a point to qualify for the first knockout round of the Champions League with two group games to go, Manchester United went to Basel with a degree of confidence they would return to England with the job accomplished.
The first half, albeit goalless and frustrating for José Mourinho’s men, suggested that would be the case come the final whistle, but the Swiss side, who had just come off a poor run of form (two draws, a loss and a win in four games), had other plans.
Pretty much dominating Manchester United during the second period, Basel ended up walking away with a surprise three points thanks to a late goal from Michael Lang, their right-back/right midfielder.
The 26-year-old had been a constant threat down the Red Devils’ left-hand side throughout the game, and the Swiss international was there, at the back post, to tap in Raoul Petretta’s low cross in the 88th minute.
Speaking to RTS after the game, the defender said: “This goal is indescribable, it’s like I’m in a dream. We’ve gone through a tough patch. We’ve been criticised a lot this season, and now we’ve pulled off a great performance. In the second half, we felt something was possible”.
As for their manager, Raphaël Wicky, the 40-year-old said: “I haven’t quite come to terms with it yet. I often have delayed emotions, so that will probably come tonight or tomorrow. I’m really happy and proud of this result for the players, the club and Swiss football.
“We suffered a lot in the first half, and we were lucky, but aThomas Vaclik (their goalkeeper) also had a great game. At half-time, we said we needed to correct two or three things on the defensive side, and that worked well”.
This isn’t the first time the Swiss side have upset Manchester United in the Champions League, having done so back in 2011 when Sir Alex Ferguson was still in charge, beating them 2-1 and knocking them out of the competition altogether.