at St. Jakob Park, Wednesday 14, September 2011
Oţelul Galaţi’s maiden voyage into Champions League seas commenced with such ease you would never know that they were the underdog. The Romanian side was rigged with the first on-target shot during the first minute of the match in a less-than-a-second head turning moment and elapsed into several consecutive shots by Oţelul and phenomenal saves by Oţelul’s goalkeeper Branko Grahovac. The surrounding energy of the crowd and crystal-clear visibility from the press box made each detailed play all the more poignant.
While FC Basel chartered their destination to the Champions League for the fourth time, they played with an unstoppable energy that reverberated throughout the stadium.
With prior stats showing Basel having won 1/4 of their games in the Champions League and having lost 5/6 of their last home games, Eurosport’s match odds reflected Basel 4/7, Otelul Galati 5/1 and Draw 3/1.
In the 58TH minute Otelul equalized with a goal by Marius Pena. But all hopes were dashed when a red card sent Adrian Salageanu off close to the end in the 83RD minute.
As the media recently visited the rhetoric of aging players, veteran Alexander Frei failed to issue anyone the right to flag him as “old” or “slow.” Basel’s experienced no. 13 had his share of spry moments and became the team hero when scoring from a penalty shot in the 84TH minute to hand Basel the win.
Four minutes of overtime mattered much to the down-to-ten-men Romanian side, as they played to make each last minute count.