18/09/13
Champions League
Chelsea 1 Basel 2
Chelsea’s Champions League campaign got off to a poor start as they were stunned by Swiss champions Basel at Stamford Bridge. Despite taking the lead through Oscar just before the break the home side were pegged back by Salah before Streller sealed a win for the visitors which sparked wild celebration amongst their players.

It was a disappointing return to European football with Chelsea for José Mourinho who had opted to play a number of youngsters. Willian was handed his debut whilst Marco van Ginkel made his first start in a Blue shirt. Samuel Eto’o meanwhile made his first appearance at the Bridge.

Chelsea made a slow start in a game in which neither side seemed keen to make the first move. It took 15 minutes for either goalkeeper to be tested, and when that first test came it was more a case of Sommer making a mess of things than any serious effort at goal. Eto’o floated a ball into the box and the Basel keeper flapped at the ball but got away with it as he was awarded a free-kick.

Frank Lampard and Eden Hazard both took pot shots at goal from long range but Basel were beginning to turn the screw and Salah should have done better when he broke free on goal but smashed his effort over the bar. Petr Cech was finally drawn into a save when Sio punted an effort at goal from range but he was easily able to gather.

It was looking like a certainty that the game would be goalless at the break and play had become staid and without any sign of a breakthrough. Somehow though Chelsea produced enough to make it 1-0.

David Luiz found Lampard with a ball out from midfield and the captain on the night slipped it throuh to Oscar. The young Brazilian had scored a screamer a year ago against Juventus but this time it was more simple for him and he stroked the ball into the bottom corner to give his side the lead.

A poor half had come to an end on a high for Chelsea who were suddenly looking more likely to take all three points than they had been for much of the first period.

There were no changes at the break and it could so easily have been 2-0 just moments after play resumed. Oscar almost matched that wonderful goal against Juventus as he turned and whipped a bending effort at goal from range only to see it strike the crossbar. It was terribly unlucky but it was the closest his side would come in the second period.

It was not for want of trying on Oscar’s part though as he hit another effort from range which was deflected wide. From the resulting corner Ivanovic rose high and met the ball but is header was straight down the throat of Sommer.

Chelsea were finding it hard to break down the stubborn visitors as the half wore on but they really should have had a second goal on the hour mark. Oscar was again involved as he found Hazard with a brilliant pass but the Belgian squandered the opportunity and blasted his effort over the crossbar. It summed up a frustrating game for the midfielder.

Mourinho was growing increasingly frustrated with his side’s failure to find a second goal and demonstrated as much when Willian’s decent debut was ended with 25 minutes to go. Juan Mata came on to replace him.

The Spaniard was barely on the field five minutes however when Basel managed to equalise. Streller found Salah on the far side of the box and the Egyptian fired a wonderful shot with pinpoint accuracy and beat Cech, with the ball nestling in his bottom corner.

The Chelsea manager reacted with another two substitutions, John Mikel Obi and Demba Ba coming on for Frank Lampard and Marco van Ginkel. Unfortunately they could not make much of an impact before Basel grabbed the winner. Salah again was involved as he broke with pace before setting up Streller, whose shot was deflected behind. From the resulting corner the forward got there ahead of Cahill and headed past Cech to make it 2-1.

It was a huge shock to the system for Chelsea and they huffed and puffed as they tried to get back into the game but made little headway. Oscar did at least test Sommer but it was too easy for the ‘keeper and Chelsea were left to rue a below par performance that leaves them with plenty of work to do in order to progress from the group.

Chelsea; Cech, Ivanovic, Cahill, Luiz, Cole, Van Ginkel (Mikel 75), Lampard (Ba 75), Willian (Mata 67), Oscar, Hazard, Eto’o
Unused subs; Schwarzer, Azpilicueta, Terry, De Bruyne
Scorer; Oscar 44
Booked; Van Ginkel
Attendance; 40,358
Referee; D Orsato