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Play-off opponents bounce back at the death

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Play-off opponents bounce back at the death

Postby FCBayernNews » Sun Aug 14, 2011 7:50 pm

FC Zürich will arrive in Munich for the midweek Champions League play-off first leg on a high, after emulating Wednesday's opponents Bayern and recording a last-gasp victory in the league on Saturday. Last season's Swiss runners-up FCZ were a goal down at half-time in the prestige clash with champions FC Basel, but scored twice in the dying embers of the game to register an unlikely 2-1 success.

Two former Bundesliga pros were the heroes for the visitors at St. Jakob Park, Mathieu Beda levelling the scores on 87 minutes, and Amine Chermiti striking a stoppage-time winner. Zürich, who lost their first three Swiss league fixtures this season, are now on course again after back-to-back victories.

Spectacular opener

With their confidence restored by the previous weekend's 6-0 rout of Grasshopper Zürich, FCZ have now chalked up a morale-boosting victory over their second big rivals for the domestic crown, claiming their first win away to Basel in 20 attempts in the process. However, the match began unpromisingly for Urs Fischer's side, as David Abraham put ex-FCB man Thorsten Fink's Basel team ahead on the half-hour with an overhead kick.

However, Zürich fought their way back into it, Alexandre Alphonse hitting the post before half-time, and Admir Mehmedi and sub Chermiti missing good chances midway through the second period. With just three minutes to go, Beda equalised with a header from a free-kick, before Chermiti more than atoned for his earlier miss with the winning goal three minutes into time added on.

Serious injury for Kukuruzovic

Some of the gloss was taken off a stirring Zürich victory by a serious injury to dynamic midfielder Stjepan Kukuruzovic, who limped out of the action seven minutes into the second half. On Sunday, the player was diagnosed with cruciate ligament damage to his right knee, and he now faces at least six months on the sidelines.

As a result, with just a few days to go until the glamour trip to Munich in the Champions League, FCZ are definitely without three of their five recognised central midfielders. Xavier Margairaz is nursing ankle ligament damage, with Tunisia star Chakher Zouaghi still in the recovery phase after knee surgery.

FC Zürich line-up away to Basel:
Leoni - Koch, Beda, Teixeira, Rodriguez - Schönbächler (Chermiti 65), Aegerter, Kukuruzovic (Buff 52), Djuric (Nikci 81) - Mehmedi, Alphonse
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