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Grasshoppers back in contention

Grasshoppers celebrate their winning goal Keystone

Grasshoppers Zurich breathed new life into the championship race on Sunday by defeating the leaders, FC Basel, 1-0.

This content was published on March 24, 2002 - 20:30

The result means that Grasshoppers climb to second in the table, just four points behind Basel, who have a game in hand. It was Basel's first defeat in the final round of matches.

Elsewhere Servette beat bottom club Sion 3-2 to climb into fourth place and Young Boys won 3-2 at home against FC Zurich to move up to fifth.

But it was at Hardturm in front of a 15,500-strong crowd where the biggest story of the day took place. Basel, having scored 12 goals in their four-game unbeaten run, finally met their match against last season's champions.

It was Grasshoppers who last defeated Christian Gross's side back in December last year, and it was clear from the start of the match that the home side were out to stop Basel's runaway train in its tracks.

Grasshoppers' Uruguayan midfielder, Richard Nuñez, ran the length of the pitch to score the winner in the 67th minute after Pascal Zuberbühler in the Basel goal had beaten out a shot by Mate Baturina.

Sion remain bottom

Sion, who had failed to win a single point in five matches, were only seven minutes away from getting off the mark at Tourbillon.

After recovering from an early setback when Blaise Piffaretti scored an own goal in the 22nd minute, the home side dominated for long periods of the match. Brazilian Roger Moreira levelled the scores shortly after half-time, only for Alex Frei to make it 2-1 to Servette from the penalty spot in the 61st minute.

It looked as though the Cameroonian striker, Samuel Ojong, had done enough to give Sion their first point of the season when he equalised 16 minutes from time. But the hopes of the home fans were dashed when Servette's Marcelo struck with a sweet half-volley.

At Neufeld, Young Boys preserved their unbeaten home record with an impressive victory over FC Zurich. First-half goals from Avraham Tikva and Gürkan Sermeter set the home side on their way, and Young Boys appeared to have the match wrapped up when Artur Petrosyan made it 3-0 in the 66th minute.

However, Zurich, perhaps shamed by their previously lacklustre display, suddenly burst into life, replying through Fredi Chassot in the 88th minute and then Ursal Yasar five minutes later.

Police fired rubber bullets and tear gas at FC Zurich fans after violence broke out at the end of the game. There was also trouble in Zurich where police had to intervene with water cannon after scuffles broke out between supporters at the city's main railway station following the Grasshoppers-Basel match.

On Saturday, Lugano missed out on the chance to make up ground on Basel, drawing 0-0 away to St Gallen.

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