November 22, 2012
Sporting chance gone after defeat
Sporting Lisbon's slim chances of progressing to the knockout stages of the Europa League were extinguished as 10-man Basle cruised to a 3-0 victory in Group G.
The Portuguese giants - who reached last season's semi-finals - realistically needed all three points from their trip to Switzerland to stay in the hunt for a place among the last 32.
But there was to be no sign of a comeback after Fabian Schar opened the scoring for Murat Yakin's men midway through the first half.
If anything, Cabral's dismissal for two yellow cards in three second-half minutes spurred Basle on to greater things, and goals from Valentin Stocker and David Degen sealed the most one-sided of victories.
With one game remaining, Basle move into second place at the expense of Videoton, who lost 1-0 at home to Genk.
Degen drilled a header into the arms of Rui Patricio before Ricky van Wolfswinkel worked Yann Sommer at the other end.
Degen had Patricio sprawling in the 18th minute after springing into the area unopposed but the visiting keeper was equal to the challenge once again.
Basle were not to be denied for long, though, as Schar grabbed the opener with 23 minutes gone.
Stocker latched onto Alexander Frei's short corner to feed the Swiss Olympian, who duly curled the ball beyond a flailing Patricio.
Van Wolfswinkel gave Sommer more food for thought with a drilled effort in the 37th minute before Fabian Frei whipped the ball just wide of the target shortly before the break.
Degen tested Patricio's reactions as play resumed.
Cabral earned a yellow card for his deliberate handball in the 54th minute and the Basle midfielder soon found himself walking for a rough challenge on Zakaria Labyad.
The hosts were forced into a tactical reshuffle but Mohamed Salah's introduction produced unexpected results in the 67th minute.
The Egypt international replaced Alexandre Frei and made an instant impact, slotting the ball across the box for Stocker to slot home.
Salah was not finished there, though, and his next trick was to tee up Degen, who curled the ball beyond Patricio just five minutes later.
A limp Sporting retreated into themselves and might have even conceded a fourth when Fabian Frei came knocking three minutes from time, but the damage was already done.