Basel stun Roma to stay alive
© Getty Images

Swiss underdogs FC Basel stunned AS Roma 3-1 in the Stadio Olimpico on Tuesday to grab a UEFA Champions League lifeline.

Alexander Frei had given the visitors the lead before Marco Borriello equalised, but Samuel Inkoom restored the visitors' advantage a minute before the break while substitute Cabral put the cherry on the cake in stoppage time. The Swiss team are now level on points with Roma and Romanians CFR Cluj with runaway leaders Bayern Munich seemingly home and dry on a maximum nine points.

Basel coach Thorsten Fink was glad to deliver on his pre-match promise that they were coming to win.

"I knew I had a good team and that Roma were not in the best of shape, even if we weren't 100 percent effective, I was sure we'd win," Fink said.

It was a further blow in a difficult season for Roma who were in the Serie A relegation zone before last weekend and were roundly jeered at the final whistle. The result prompted Roma coach Claudio Ranieri to criticise his team's performance.

I knew I had a good team and that Roma were not in the best of shape, even if we weren't 100 percent effective, I was sure we'd win.
Basel coach Thorsten Fink.

"In the first half we were too far apart, not very determined, we didn't even make one foul, we didn't win the ball back, and I'm also asking why," said the coach.

"I don't know if the real Roma was the one on Sunday against Genoa [a 2-1 win] or tonight's," said Ranieri.

Roma striker Marco Borriello had an early half chance but lashed it high and wide for the hosts and they were made to pay on 12 minutes. Xherdan Shaqiri chipped the ball into the box where giant striker Marco Streller cushioned a header back to Frei, in acres of space, to dispatch an unstoppable half-volley that kept rising all the way to the net.

Roma equalised with a goal of stunning simplicity that showed the supposed difference in class between the two teams. In his own half and with his back to goal Francesco Totti took a pass and shifted it on first time between Basel's centre-backs. Borriello was the only one to read it and his angled run kept him onside before he chipped over onrushing goalkeeper Franco Costanzo.

Totti came close on 37 minutes as he cut in from the right and had a dig, but he didn't get any bend on the ball and it went wide.

Frei had the ball in the net a couple of minutes later but was rightly judged offside. But the visitors did get their second goal on 44 minutes as Ghanaian Inkoom overlapped from right-back, catching out Simone Perrotta, and collected Shaqiri's smart pass before smashing it past Bogdan Lobont.

Roma had to attack after the break and after Totti had lashed a shot narrowly wide, they were a whisker away from equalising when Rodrigo Taddei crashed a shot from the right against the post on 58 minutes. Minutes later Perrotta and Nicolas Burdisso got in each other's way in trying to convert Totti's headed lay-off. However, Roma had a let-off when Benjamin Huggel climbed highest in the box but saw his header land just wide.

Roma substitute Julio Baptista then crossed for Matteo Brighi but his header flew over. French centre-back Philippe Mexes headed over from Totti's free-kick while the striker's direct dead ball effort was beaten away by Costanza a minute from time. But then Cabral snuck in behind the defence in injury time and slotted cooly home.

Roma striker Borriello admitted this result has hit their hopes of progression. Roma have only one home game left whereas both Basel and Cluj have two.

"It's a shame, it's a costly defeat. I hope it won't affect our Champions League hopes," Borriello told Sky Sport.