Euro duel for Basel and Lausanne
Swiss football clubs Basel and Lausanne are set to do battle against each other in Europe's Intertoto Cup, following victories for both sides in the competition's third round.
In Saturday's second leg action, Basel enjoyed a 3-2 away win over Dutch team Heerenveen to add to their 2-1 home victory in the first leg. Lausanne, meanwhile, were only able to manage a goalless draw against Slovenia's Celje at the Pontaise stadium but went through on the away goals rule, having drawn 1-1 last weekend in Slovenia.
Less than 1,500 spectators turned out for the match in Lausanne, but interest is likely to be higher when the two Swiss sides go head to head in the Intertoto semi-finals.
The tie will be played over two legs, starting on Wednesday, with the winner going through to one of three Intertoto 'finals'. The three eventual winners of those matches will finally be rewarded with a place in the UEFA Cup.
For the Swiss clubs already guaranteed some European action, Saturday's league programme brought mixed results.
Grasshoppers leap over Lucerne
After a shaky start to the season, defending champions Grasshoppers Zurich finally came to life, beating Lucerne 6-0. All six goals were scored in the second half, with Swiss international Stéphane Chapuisat grabbing a hat-trick.
UEFA Cup hopefuls St Gallen had less to smile about after losing 3-0 away to expected strugglers Neuchâtel Xamax. With goalkeeper Jörg Stiel confined to the bench following the completion of his transfer to Germany's Borussia Mönchengladbach, the east Swiss side soon found themselves in trouble.
After just 12 minutes, defender Ivan dal Santo was sent off for a professional foul and Xamax took full advantage, with Ensar Arifovic and Alexander Tachie-Mensah sending first half goals past replacement goalie Oliver Stöckli.
A 67th minute own goal from Marc Zellweger all but made sure of a Xamax victory while a second St Gallen sending off, this time for Ivan Stefanovic, at least ensured that Stiel had plenty of company on the bench.
Servette Geneva, who have also qualified for the UEFA Cup as winners of last season's Swiss Cup, were fortunate to come away from Aarau with a 1-1 draw, thanks to an equaliser from Nigerian midfielder Wilson Oruma, scored with just three minutes of play remaining.
FC Zurich stay top
FC Zurich, who play Young Boys in Bern on Sunday, remain on top of the early season table but are now level on points with Sion, Grasshoppers, Lugano and Aarau. Neuchâtel Xamax have traded places either side of the relegation playoff zone with St Gallen, who are joined in the bottom four by Servette, Lausanne and Lucerne.
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