FC Basel have pulled off the biggest upset of the Champions League thus far, impressively downing Chelsea, 2-1, at Stamford Bridge. The hosts took the lead in the first half, but were undone by the direct counter-attacking of the Swiss champions in the second half.
Chelsea dominated in the early going, though they struggled to find a breakthrough. Even though they picked a more attacking lineup than usual, starting two strikers and a pair of attack-minded midfielders in a 4-4-2 lineup, they began the game by defending deep with nine men behind the ball. The Blues controlled possession and generated some half-chances, but nothing concrete.
Mohamed Salah had Basel's first big chance of the game on a counter in the 30th minute, but curled his effort from 20 yards just over the crossbar. It appeared that the visitors were going to get to halftime with a 0-0 draw until the very end of the half, when Chelsea struck in impressive fashion.
Oscar got the game's opening goal on the end of a nice quick move, started by David Luiz. He found Frank Lampard with a direct ball forward and Chelsea's captain flicked into the path of Oscar, who finished low and to the far post from 20 yards out.
The Blues continued to control possession in Basel's half, limiting the Swiss champions to counter attacks, but their counters started to look more and more dangerous as the second half wore on. They finally found a surprise breakthrough in the 71st minute on an impressive attack. A pretty spell of passing around the top of the Chelsea box culminated in Marco Streller finding Salah on the right flank. He tried a curling shot from a spot similar to the one he missed from in the 30th minute, but this time managed to keep his shot down and curl it inside the back post to equalize.
Chelsea took off Frank Lampard and Marco van Ginkel for Demba Ba and John Obi Mikel in response, opening up space for Basel to counter into. They looked dangerous consistently over a five minute period after those subs, leading to a corner that resulted in the winning goal.
Behrang Safari got the assist with an in-swinging delivery to the near post for Streller, who was able to out-muscle his marker and beat Petr Cech to stunningly put Chelsea behind.
With a surprise lead on the road against a top opponent, Basel predictably bunkered in for a tense finish. They did their job perfectly in the final minutes, holding on for an impressive win.
Chelsea: Cech, Cole, Cahill, Luiz, Ivanovic, Lampard (Ba 76'), Van Ginkel (Mikel 76'), Hazard, Oscar, Willian (Mata 67'), Eto'o
Goals: Oscar (45')
FC Basel: Sommer, Safari, Ivanov, Schär, Voser, Stocker (Ajeti 83'), Diaz, Frei, Salah (Xhaka 88'), Sio (Delgado 64'), Streller
Goals: Salah (71'), Streller (81').