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Marseille pile on Inter Milan’s misery; Shock victory for Basel over Bayern

  Thursday 23rd February 2012

Marseille 1-0 Inter Milan

Marseille snatched a late 1-0 win at home to an Inter Milan side whose manager Claudio Ranieri will now come under renewed pressure for their poor form.

Andre Ayew stepped up, or rather shouldered up, to push the ball past a distraught Julio Cesar in the 92ndminute. It had been a fairly uninspiring encounter; neither side seemed to be particularly up for the victory and the winner was arguably undeserved. Chances were limited and the sides seemed to be destined for stalemate, with a horrendous volley from Jeremy Morel epitomising the calibre of the gameplay, although Ayew was on hand to pounce on a late cross to snatch a victory for the home team.

Marseille match-winner Andre Ayew was closely watched by Javier Zanetti and co all night, but managed to evade his markers late on

Nonetheless, Marseille will be delighted that they have a lead to take back to the San Siro. For Inter Milan, the defeat will be particularly had to swallow considering that they had looked the more likely side to edge the match, with Diego Forlan constantly stretching and running in behind the Marseille defence.

Basel 1-0 Bayern Munich

Basel rescued a victory late on in this Champions League epic, in which both sides had glorious opportunities to win the match.

Valentin Stocker was the unlikely hero of the evening in the 86th minute, as a delightful through ball allowed him to slide the ball confidently between the legs of Manuel Neuer who, as usual, had put in a very capable shift in order to keep his side in the game. The St Jakob Park crowd was sent into raptures as the Swiss side completed the first half of a giantkilling.

Chances were a-plenty, particularly in the first half, with both sides coming tantalisingly close to the seemingly elusive victory. Franck Ribery seemed to be the player with the power to unlock the robust defence of Basel, yet his efforts were not enough to overcome an impressive display. Basel had good chances of their own: on one occasion the ball ricocheted off the inside of the post only to trickle along the goal line, and Alexander Frei also hit the crossbar with a chance he should have buried. On the whole, the Swiss side were good value for their win. 

Raphael Salama

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