Basel come from behind to beat Chelsea 2-1
LONDON — Jose Mourinho returned to Chelsea with the prime aim of winning the Champions League but his campaign got off to the worst possible start when the 2012 winners suffered a shock 2-1 home defeat by Basel in their first match yesterday (Sept 18).
Chelsea, beaten in the Premier League by Everton last 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.
Swiss champions Basel, beaten by Chelsea in the Europa League semi-finals last season, grew in confidence and completed their smash and grab raid nine minutes from time when captain and centre forward Marco Streller cleverly glanced in a near-post header from a corner.
It was Chelsea’s first home defeat in the Champions League group stage in 30 matches, dating back to a 2-0 loss to Besiktas in October 2003.
“We wanted to win of course but we have to respect a team who showed they have quality and experience,” Mourinho told reporters.
“Basel played very well. We had a lot of the ball but we couldn’t create many chances. In the end we lost three points, we must get them back somewhere.
“Normally you have to win at home and get a few points away Now we must win remaining home games against Schalke and Steaua Bucharest and will probably we will have to go away and win at Basel.”
That could be easier said than done as the team who have won the Swiss title four years in a row played with growing confidence and no little skill.
They were on the back foot for much of the first half as Chelsea gave a debut to £30 million (S$60.3 million) signing Willian and a first home start for 20-year-old Marco Van Ginkel but although the Londoners dominated possession they were pedestrian and disjointed for most of the first half.