Manchester United suffer 1-0 defeat to Basel in the Champions League

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Manchester United have lost away to Basel in the Champions League by a score of 1-0.

As United only needed a point from either of their last 2 group stage games to ensure qualification to the round of 16, there was not much need for an attacking impetus on the road. Mourinho decided to rest some players and give others a run out in the side. Herrera and Fellaini started behind Pogba in midfield, while Blind and Darmian came back to into the fullback positions. Marcos Rojo came back into the team for his first appearance since April, while Lingard was making his 100th appearance for his boyhood club.

As expected, it was a dull affair to start the match. United created a rare chance 20 minutes in, when a Fellaini header from a Blind free kick went just wide of the goal.

The away fans got excited as Pogba won a free kick a few yards outside of the penalty area. It was in a great spot for Pogba to try and curl it over the wall, but he hit well over the bar, disappointing the traveling fans.

Martial went for quite the run with the ball, picking it up at the halfway line and dribbling all the way to the opposing penalty area. The Frenchman went for a delicate dink over the keeper, but the Basel goalie was able to get a hand and swat it away.

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Marcos Rojo, who was making his first appearance in 6 months, almost had a heroic return. A corner was headed out and fell to the feet of the Argentine. He took a shot from roughly 40 yards out, which deflected off a defender, onto the crossbar, and out of bounds. It was the biggest chance for either team, and would’ve been a massive goal going into the break.

United almost grabbed a goal minutes into the second half when Martial whipped in a dangerous cross, but the header from Lukaku just went over the bar.

Pogba then came out of a match, as it would be too risky to have him play a full 90 so soon after coming back from injury. The defensive Matic came on to help shore up the United defence.

Basel threw numbers forward as they needed a win to stay alive in the group. The increased pressure almost lead to a goal, as a header from a Basel attacker hit the bar, and was just cleared away by the United defence. Soon after, Rojo was forced into a great challenge to stop another Basel attack.

Sergio Romero then reminded everyone watching that he is the best back-up goalkeeper in the world. Die, the Ivorian international, ripped a shot from 35 yards, but Romero was able to tip it over the crossbar.

However, United were not able to weather the storm, and conceded on the cusp of full time. Both Basel fullbacks flew forward and created an overload on the wings. Petretta smashed a low cross across the penalty area, and it was tapped in at the back post by Lang.

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The result means that United have not clinched a spot in the Round of 16 as they are on 12 points, while CSKA and Basel are both on nine. United’s final game in the group is at home to CSKA Moscow, and a draw will guarantee United 1st place in the group.

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