| Tuesday, November 5, 2002 16:14 EST
Swiss club records first-ever win on Russian soil
MOSCOW -- Basel moved a step closer to the
Champions League second phase with a deserved 2-0 win at Spartak
Moscow in their rearranged Group B match on Tuesday.
The Swiss side moved into second place behind Valencia, who
has already qualified, and one point ahead of Liverpool, who
the team meets in its final group game next week. A draw against
Liverpool would be enough to take Basel through.
Spartak, who had hoped to end a 15-game winless streak in
Europe, has now lost all five of its group matches.
The Russian champions, who could have maintained a slim
chance of securing a UEFA Cup berth with a victory, pushed
forward from the opening whistle.
But striker Hernan Rossi silenced a small but vocal home
crowd when he put Basel ahead in the 17th minute, scoring
against the run of play.
The Argentine beat Spartak's Brazilian playmaker Moises
Pineiro to the ball as he latched on to a low cross from Herve
Tim and squeezed it past goalkeeper Maxim Levitsky from close
With temperatures dipping below freezing and light snow
falling after the interval, the Swiss side was content to
defend in numbers in the second half.
Spartak had only a handful of scoring chances in the entire
match. Alexander Danishevsky, who scored Spartak's lone goal in
this season's competition in a 3-1 defeat to Liverpool two weeks
ago, wasted the best chance of an equalizer.
The 18-year-old striker fired over the bar from six meters
late in the game before Christian Giminez, who replaced fellow
Argentine Rossi midway through the second half, sealed Basel's
first victory on Russian soil with a second goal a minute from
"We played very well today and deserved to win," Basel coach
Christian Gross said.
"I usually don't like to make predictions but I think we
have a very good chance of making the second round of the
Spartak assistant coach Viktor Samokhin was disappointed.
"We dominated in the second half but once again we paid the
price for making too many mistakes in defense," he said.
Tuesday's match was played amid heavy security after Chechen
guerrillas took more than 800 people hostage in a city theater
in the Russian capital two weeks ago.
It was initially scheduled for last Wednesday but was
delayed a week by UEFA as a mark of respect for more than 100
hostages, who died in an operation to storm the building. It was
rescheduled for a second time following consultations with both