PSG beat Basel 2-1, advance from Champions League group
A brilliant 90th-minute goal by Thomas Meunier sealed Paris Saint-Germain’s easy progress into the Champions League round of 16 with a 2-1 win at Basel on Tuesday. A point would have been enough for PSG to progress alongside Group A rival Arsenal when the Gunners scored late to complete a come-from-behind 3-2 win at Ludogorets Razgrad.
But PSG defender Meunier made it emphatic with a spinning volleyed shot from outside the penalty area into the top right corner of Basel’s goal. PSG had only Blaise Matuidi’s 43th-minute goal - a deft flick with the inside of his right heel - to reflect its domination until Basel equalized with a stunning strike in the 76th.
Substitute Luca Zuffi was 35 meters out when he spotted goalkeeper Alphonse Areola had strayed off his goalline, and fired a dipping shot into the net.
Basel finished with 10 players after Ivory Coast midfielder Geoffroy Serey Die was shown two yellow cards with six minutes left in the game. PSG and Arsenal both have 10 points and meet in London on Nov. 23. Arsenal leads the group with a better goal difference and would gain by a draw. It was a winning return to Basel for PSG coach Unai Emery, nearly six months after he led Sevilla to a third straight Europa League title here against Liverpool.
For Basel, unbeaten in domestic league and cup matches, it was a first loss at St. Jakob Park this season. The perennial Swiss champion has struggled in Group A, and has not led in any of its four matches.
Basel and Ludogorets each has one point and plays in Bulgaria on Nov. 23. That game that could decide which team finishes third and transfers to the Europa League round of 32 in February. The teams drew 1-1 at Basel in their opening match.
PSG took a deserved lead following a corner from the left. The ball broke to Belgium defender Meunier whose shot across the goalmouth was directed in by Matuidi with his back to goal. Star forward Edinson Cavani was wasteful in the 19th when he chipped a shot high over the goal when sent clear on Basel goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik, and Meunier twice failed to score with clear shooting chances in the second half. — AP
BASEL: Paris Saint-Germain’s Argentinian forward Angel Di Maria (C) falls between Basel’s Ivorian defender Adama Traore (L) and Basel’s Czech defender Marek Suchy (R) during the UEFA Champions League group A football match. — AFP