FC Basel win boosts Champions League hopes
Basel have edged closer to the Uefa Champions League group stage with a 1-0 win at home against FC Sheriff of Tiraspol, Moldova.
In the first leg of the two-game tie on Wednesday night, the Swiss champions sealed their victory with a 54th minute header from Valentin Stocker.
The visitors, aiming to make the group stage for the first time in ten successive attempts, made life tough for the Swiss. But the deadlock was broken during a strong Basel spell early in the second half.
Sheriff had Aleksandr Erokhin sent off late, but goalkeeper Vladislav Stoyanov saved a last-minute Benjamin Huggel penalty to keep his side alive.
The return match in Moldova takes place on August 24.
Apart from having Erokhin sent off, Sheriff were also shown four yellow cards. As a result, Sheriff will be missing Erokhin, Vladimir Branković and Miral Samardžić through suspension for the second leg.
On August 17, Young Boys of Bern defeated Tottenham Hostspur of the English Premier League 3-2 in another first leg play-off match. Spurs host the Bern team at their North London stadium on August 25.
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