FC BASEL OVERPOWER MOSCOW SPARTAK
Hakan Yakin’s goal in the 50th minute put FC Basel on the path to victory in Basel’s debut in the Champions League group stage.
Five minutes later, Julio Hernan Rossi dribbled around the Spartak defence to get a clear shot past 'keeper Alexander Cherchesov.
With the Muscovites missing their injured captain, Yegor Titov, Basel dominated much of the match and had a number of near misses.
Rossi gave Spartak its first scare in the 15th minute with a header that went into the net past Cherchesov, but the Argentine player was ruled offside.
In the 23rd minute, Murat Yakin headed against the post from a corner. Thirty seconds later his younger brother, Hakan, had his first opportunity, heading the ball just wide of the goal.
Hakan was also on target with a bicycle kick in the 43rd minute, but Cherchesov caught it. And Rossi narrowly missed with a header that bounced off the crossbar in the 70th minute.
Spartak were also forced to cope with the news that Titov faces between one and four months more on the sidelines with a renewed injury to his knee.
The Russian team have an unhappy history away from home in the Champions League and this was their eighth successive away defeat in the competition.
Last season the Russians were eliminated in the first round of the competition, finishing behind Bayern Munich, Sparta Prague and Feyenoord.
Shock win over Celtic
Basel made sure of their place in the Champions League opening round after shocking Scottish champions Celtic in the qualifiers.
The team came back from a 3-1 deficit after the first leg in Glasgow, to win the second leg 2-0 in Basel.
Entry into the Champions League is likely to give a welcome boost to the FC Basel coffers, which have been hard-stretched in particular by the building of the club’s new stadium.
The Swiss side could earn up to SFr10 million ($6.7 million) – even if they lose all their games – thanks to contributions from the competition organiser, UEFA, along with money from the Champion’s League marketing pool and ticket sales.
If the club continues to upset some of Europe’ biggest sporting names, the financial rewards could be even greater.