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Basel close in on title

Basel's George Koumantarakis (right) jumps the extra inch for the ball against the Zurich Grasshoppers

(Keystone)

FC Basel have pulled off a convincing 4-1 win against the Zurich Grasshoppers, making them the runaway leaders at the top of the table.

With five games to go, Basel are eight points clear of their closest challenger, Lugano, and ten points clear of third-placed Grasshoppers.

In front of a 33,400-strong home crowd at St Jakob's park on Sunday, Basel beat their closest rival, for the first time in a year-and-a-half.

In what has been a glittering season for the boys from the north, a victory against the Grasshoppers had proved rather elusive. But that all changed when they hammered the Zurich side in Sunday's high-scoring match.

The home fans did not have to wait long for the opening goal with Hakan Yakin scoring for Basel in the first minute. Grasshoppers were quick to spring back though with an equalizer 14 minutes later from Marc Hodel.

But the most electrifying action came in the second half.

Christian Gimenez made the score 2-1 in the 47th minute, with team-mate Murat Yakin scoring Basel's third goal from a penalty three minutes before fulltime. If that wasn't enough, the Basel fans were left on the edge of their seats by a final goal in the 89th minute from Ivan Ergic.

Zurich down Bern

In other action, FC Zurich celebrated a 2-0 win over Young Boys Bern that would have been even more convincing had the Zurich side not had an early strike disallowed for a foul on the Young Boys' keeper.

The rest of the first half was largely lacking in incident, but Zurich fought back in the 45th minute when Yasar salvaged a bungled free kick by teammate Iodice and planted one in the back of the net.

Yasar then grabbed his second goal in the 59th minute.

But despite their victory Zurich were unable to haul themselves up the table and are still in seventh spot with Young Boys Bern standing firm in fifth.

swissinfo with agencies


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