Alex Frei’s 84th-minute penalty lifted FC Basel to a 2-1 victory over Champions League newcomers Otelul Galati from Romania on Wednesday.
The result, the first of six at the group stage, puts Basel at the top of Group C after group rivals Manchester United and Benfica drew 1-1 in Portugal. The top two teams qualify for the next round.
Frei fired his spot-kick low into the left corner of the net in Basel after Otelul defender Adrian Salageanu was shown a red card for bringing down striker Marco Streller.
Basel, playing in the group stage for the third time in four seasons, took the lead in the 39th minute on Fabien Frei’s header near the penalty spot from Streller’s cross.
Marius Pena equalised for the visitors in the 58th minute, pouncing on an error by Basel goalkeeper Yann Sommer.
Basel finished with ten men when Benjamin Huggel picked up a second yellow card in the 87th minute.
Their next match is against Manchester United – in Manchester – on September 27.
swissinfo.ch with agencies