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May 17, 2022

Champions League: Otelul out of the race after 2-3 against Basel

FC Basel 1893 will take on Manchester United FC for a place in the UEFA Champions League round of 16 in two weeks’ time after hanging on for a 3-2 victory against FC Otelul Galati in Bucharest on Tuesday night. Otelul is on the last place on Group C, with no points and no hopes for Europa League.

The Freis, first Fabian and then Alexander, both struck inside 15 minutes and when Basel captain Marco Streller added a third eight minutes before the break it seemed to have drawn a line under this as a contest. But his opposite number Gabriel Giurgiu gave the home supporters something to cheer and they really began to believe when Liviu Antal reduced the deficit still further with nine minutes left, only for Basel to hold on for three vital Group C points.

It was Giurgiu’s team who had taken an immediate grip on the contest. How different a story it might have been had Cristian Sârghi converted the chance that Laurentiu Iorga’s free-kick laid on for him at the far post. The ball came quickly to the defender and he could only steer his header over the bar.

After Tuesday’s night round, FC Internazionale Milano, FC Bayern München and SL Benfica are the latest three clubs through to the UEFA Champions League round of 16 and both AFC Ajax and SSC Napoli look well placed to join them. Bayern only required a draw at home to eliminated Villarreal CF, but two Franck Ribery goals ensured a 3-1 victory that leaves the Spanish side.

SSC Napoli look well placed to join Bayern after a 2-1 defeat of Manchester City FC to move a point ahead of the Premier League leaders, with a visit to Villarreal to come. City need Napoli to slip up and beat group winners Bayern. Inter knew just before kick-off at Trabzonspor A? in Group B that their progress was sealed due to LOSC Lille Metropole’s early 2-0 win at PFC CSKA Moskva, their first in the section. Claudio Ranieri’s side promptly clinched first place with a 1-1 draw.

The third former European champions to progress were Benfica in Group C thanks to a 2-2 draw at Manchester United FC, Pablo Aimar swiftly equalising after Darren Fletcher had put the home side in front on 59 minutes. In Group D, Real Madrid CF were already through, and confirmed first position by beating eliminated GNK Dinamo Zagreb 6-2. But the race for second place is still alive after AFC Ajax stayed three points ahead of Olympique Lyonnais with a 0-0 draw in France.

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