Football leaders suffer washout

Referee Guido Wildhaber was forced to call off Saturday's match in Lugano Keystone

FC Zurich were denied the chance to extend their lead at the top of the Swiss football league on Saturday when rain stopped play at Lugano's Cornaredo stadium, for the second time in two weeks.

This content was published on August 18, 2001 - 22:15

Having already washed out an earlier match between Lugano and Lausanne (which Lugano had been leading 3-0), the unseasonal weather in Ticino has now forced yet another postponement. This time neither side had too much to complain about, with the scoreline standing goal-less when the game was called off at halftime.

After going on to beat Lausanne 2-1 in the earlier game's eventual replay, Lugano will now be hoping lightning can strike twice (figuratively at least) once their match against Zurich is rescheduled.

Saturday's annulment leaves FC Zurich tied for the lead with Young Boys Bern, whose good start to the new season continued on Friday with a 2-0 win at home to Neuchâtel Xamax.

Lausanne stun champions

Defending champions Grasshoppers Zurich suffered a surprise defeat on Saturday, losing 2-1 at home to Lausanne. It was the canton Vaud team's first win of the season and their first victory in Grasshoppers' Hardturm stadium for ten years.

Pape Thiaw was the Lausanne hero, scoring both the visitors' goals in the first half. Swiss international Stéphane Chapuisat missed the chance to pull Grasshoppers back into the match when he squandered a penalty kick in the 61st minute.

Chapuisat's strike partner Richard Nunez showed the Swiss star how things should be done with a successful penalty conversion in the 93rd minute, but the goal proved too late for Grasshoppers, who will be desperate to do better this Wednesday in their Champions League qualifier against FC Porto.

St Gallen continue revival

St Gallen came back from a goal down to continue their apparent revival in fortunes with a 3-1 win in Lucerne. Alcorse had put the home side in front after 24 minutes but two goals from Romanian striker Ionel Gane and one from Brazilian midfielder Jairo were more than enough to secure only the second league win of the season for the former champions.

Like Grasshoppers, St Gallen will be in European action later this week, with Marcel Koller's men taking a 2-0 lead into the home leg of their UEFA Cup qualifier against Macedonia's FK Pelister.

FC Basel began their final preparations for Tuesday's Intertoto Cup final second leg with a disappointing 1-1 draw away to Aarau. Okpela had threatened to inflict an unexpected defeat on Christian Gross's side after putting Aarau ahead in the 55th minute. But a goal from Basel captain Oliver Kreuzer 14 minutes later ensured a share of the points.

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