Chelsea suffer shock 2-1 defeat to Basel

2013-09-18 22:54

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London – Jose Mourinho's dreams of winning the Champions League with Chelsea suffered an early setback as the Londoners fell to a shock 2-1 home defeat by Swiss champions Basel in their opening Group E match.

Chelsea, beaten in the Premier League by Everton on Saturday, looked short of ideas all night in a stuttering display, though they led 1-0 following a neat finish by Oscar just before halftime.

The Brazilian hit the bar soon after the restart as Chelsea briefly turned on the style but they were never able to take complete control and Mohamed Salah equalised in the 71st minute.

Basel, beaten by Chelsea in the Europa League semi-finals last season, grew in confidence and scored again 10 minutes later when captain and centre forward Marco Streller cleverly glanced in a near-post header from a corner.

Chelsea gave a debut to £30 million signing Willian and a first home start for 20-year-old Marco Van Ginkel but they were pedestrian and disjointed for most of the first half.

A neat pass by the ever-aware Lampard enabled Oscar to give them a flattering halftime lead and their formidable home record in the competition looked safe.

Basel, who took four points off Manchester United in the Champions League in the 2011-12 season, were always in the game and it was no real surprise when they levelled after Salah played a nice one-two with Streller and curled in a confident low shot.

They went close again soon after through Streller but Chelsea failed to heed the warning and the big forward got in front of Gary Cahill to head the winner nine minutes from the end.

With Schalke 04 and Steaua Bucharest making up the group the defeat should not necessarily be terminal for Chelsea, who failed to get out of their group last year, but it was not the start Mourinho had planned when he returned to the club from Real Madrid three months ago.

Meanwhile, Arsenal recovered from an unimpressive first half to defeat Olympique Marseille 2-1  in a clinical opening to their Champions League campaign.

Theo Walcott volleyed home in the 65th minute after benefiting from Jeremy Morel's defensive blunder before Aaron Ramsey put the result beyond doubt seven minutes from time with a deflected low shot.

Olympique Marseille had a handful of chances with Andre-Pierre Gignac, Andre Ayew and Rod Fanni coming close to scoring before Jordan Ayew reduced the arrears with a penalty in added time.

Lionel Messi gave yet another sparkling Champions League recital when he netted a hat-trick for Barcelona in a crushing 4-0 win at home to Ajax Amsterdam in their Group H opener.

The Argentine World Player of the Year lit up the Nou Camp with a brilliant curling free kick in the 22nd minute, a trademark dash in from the right and clinical finish 10 minutes into the second half and a low shot into the corner from the edge of the area 15 minutes from time.

He is the first player to score four trebles in Europe's elite club competition and took his overall goals tally to 62 in 80 appearances, nine short of record scorer Raul of Real Madrid.

In Italy, a stunning Lorenzo Insigne free kick proved decisive for Napoli who beat 10-man Borussia Dortmund 2-1 in their Champions League Group F match.

Gonzalo Higuain's 29th minute glancing header and Insigne's superb strike in the 67th minute looked to have given the Serie A leaders a fully deserved win against last season's beaten finalists who had goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller sent off late in the first half.

However, the Italians missed a series of chances in the second half, and a Juan Zuniga own goal in the 87th minute left them sweating against dogged Dortmund.

Weidenfeller was given a straight red card after he rushed out of his area to beat Higuain to Insigne's floated pass in first half stoppage time and blatantly batted it away with his hand.

Other results:

AC Milan 2 - 0 Celtic

Atletico Madrid 3 - 1 Zenit St Petersburg

Austria Vienna 0 - 1 Porto

Schalke 3 - 0 Steaua Bucharest

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