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Derby defeat for FC Zurich

Grasshoppers goalscorer Stéphane Chapuisat tussles with Tariq Chihab

(Keystone)

Swiss league leaders FC Zurich have suffered their first defeat of the season, losing 3-1 at home to their arch city rivals Grasshoppers Zurich.

After storming to the top of the early season standings off the back of an eight-match unbeaten spell, Georges Bregy's side came unstuck on Saturday thanks in no small part to the sendings off of two of their players.

An 11th minute goal from Grasshoppers' Uruguayan star Richard Nunez had already threatened to make things difficult for FC Zurich, but the dismissal of Swiss international defender Yvan Quentin for a bad foul shortly before the break looked like an even bigger blow for the home team.

To Zurich's credit they did manage an equaliser after the restart through veteran striker Frederic Chassot.

But with 18 minutes remaining Grasshoppers' own veteran, Stéphane Chapuisat, put the visitors back in front, and shortly after Zurich found themselves down to just nine men.

Second red card

In the 74th minute Urs Fischer became the second defender to see the red card, again for a strong tackle, and just five minutes later Grasshoppers finally got a grip on the match, sealing the victory with a goal from Luca Ippoliti.

Grasshoppers coach Hans-Peter Zaugg appeared to have heeded the criticisms levelled at teenage goalkeeper Peter Jehle, following the Swiss champions' defeat in their Champions League qualifier against Porto. The young Liechtenstein international was dropped for Saturday's derby with reserve goalie Stefan Huber being recalled to the side.

Zurich stay top

Despite the disappointment of the derby defeat, FC Zurich were at least able to hold onto top spot in the Swiss league, after their nearest rivals also slipped up on Saturday.

Young Boys of Bern suffered only their second defeat of the new campaign after conceding three goals without reply away to Servette. The win lifts the Genevan side up to second in the table, level on points with Young Boys.

Grasshoppers meanwhile are up to fourth, one place above Lugano who were convincingly beaten 5-1 by Christian Gross's resurgent Basel team.

Lausanne are another team whose season appears to be coming good at last, although the side from canton Vaud had to fight hard for a 3-2 win over winless Lucerne.

Saturday's only other remaining match ended in a goalless draw between eighth placed Neuchâtel Xamax and sixth placed Aarau.

On Sunday Sion will be looking to rebuild their season following the national league's controversial decision to deduct seven points from the canton Valais team following a financial error by the club's board.

Laurent Roussey's men will be hoping to begin their fightback when they travel to St Gallen for the weekend's final game.

swissinfo with agencies

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