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Basel stay on course for double

George Koumantarakis celebrates with Scott Chipperfield after scoring Basel's opening goal Keystone

FC Basel are looking in good shape to win both the league and the Swiss cup, after defeating Zurich 4-1 in the cup quarterfinals on Thursday.

Currently six points clear at the top of the league table, Basel had few difficulties in Zurich’s Letzigrund stadium. Leading 2-1 with five minutes to go, Christian Gross’s team only made sure of victory, however, with late goals from Spanish forward Carlos Varela and his Australian strike partner Scott Chipperfield.

The rest of the night’s action saw Basel’s top division rivals struggling to assert their authority, with Grasshoppers Zurich, Lausanne and Young Boys eventually fighting their way through to the semi-finals.

Young Boys blossom in overtime

After twice taking the lead against amateur side Wangen, Young Boys found themselves pegged back each time to leave the scores level at 2-2 after 90 minutes. Wangen were unable to keep up with their professional opponents as the game wore into extra time, though, with the side from the Swiss capital finally grabbing a 6-2 victory.

Grasshoppers leave it late…

Grasshoppers’ win over Lucerne was even less convincing, with the defending league champions failing to impose themselves against a cash-strapped club who are currently bottome of the relegation playout league. With neither side managing to score in 120 minutes of play, Grasshoppers only scraped through in a 4-3 penalty shootout.

…Lausanne leave it later

But it was Lausanne who had the narrowest victory of the evening. Playing against a Wil side who are currently bidding to replace Lausanne in the top division, the team from canton Vaud were held to a 1-1 scoreline after regular and extra time.

With the first five penalty kicks also failing to separate the two sides, the shootout went into sudden death before Lausanne clinched a hard-fought 10-9 win.

As a result of Thursday’s action, next month’s Swiss Cup semi-finals will be an all top division affair. Basel are set to contest their first semi-final in eight years at home to Young Boys, while Grasshoppers travel to Lausanne’s Olympic stadium.

The semi-final matches are due to take place on April 11, with the final being held on May 12.

swissinfo with agencies

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