FC Basel progressed to the Swiss Cup final on Thursday night, as they beat FC Zürich 3-1 at the Stadion Letzigrund.
Basel took the lead after just four minutes, thanks to Noah Okafor. He received the ball on the edge of the box, beautifully curling his first time shot into the top corner to give the RotBlau an early lead.
While Basel had the advantage in the first half, it was Zürich who had the better chances. They dominated the opening 45 minutes and should’ve drawn level, with Umaru Bangura and Assan Ceesay coming closest from FCZ.
Basel were almost the architects of their own downfall, as mistakes creeped into their defensive performance. In particular, goalkeeper Jonas Omlin struggled to collect crosses and shots, fumbling the ball on several opportunities.
However Omlin made a fantastic save with the last kick of the first half, with his quick reflexes seeing him deny Stephen Odey’s close range header. Basel went into the half time break in front, but only with a slender lead.
The second half seemed to have more bookings than chances, as tensions rose in this Schweizer Klassiker. Zürich continued to have clear-cut chances to no result, with a handful of penalty appeals turned down for both sides.
Basel finally secured the victory in the 87th minute, as Zdravko Kuzmanović doubled FCB’s lead. After winning the ball back, Valentin Stocker broke on the wing and passed it into Luca Zuffi, who laid it off for Kuzmanović who hit the ball sweetly
Albian Ajeti added Basel’s third in injury time, breaking through the defence and calmly chipping the ball over Andris Vaņins. Zürich finally got themselves onto the scoresheet in the 95th minute, as Odey headed home. However it was a mere consolation for FCZ, as the RotBlau progressed to the Swiss Cup final.
Truthfully, the scoreline doesn’t reflect the game. Basel had to fight hard to secure the win, and needed two goals in the last five minutes to progress. Nevertheless they deserved it and were the more clinical team on the night, and will be delighted with the result.
Meanwhile, Zürich will be disappointed. They had so many chances and so many opportunities to at least draw level, but they weren’t clinical enough as they were beaten on their own ground. The reigning champions are out, as their bid to reach a fourth final in six years was unsuccessful.
Basel reached their 11th Swiss Cup final of the millennium, and their sixth final in the last eight years. The RotBlau will now aim to win the competition for the 13th time in their history, which would see them move joint second with FC Sion in the number of cup wins.
FC Basel will now face FC Thun in the Swiss Cup final, after they beat Luzern 1-0 on Tuesday. They will face off on 19th May, with the finale being played at the Stade de Suisse in Bern.
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