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Zurich remain close to relegation zone

Lugano's Rossi (left, in red) scores his team's first goal Keystone

Zurich failed on Sunday to open a gap over ninth-placed Aarau in the Swiss football championship when it lost at home to Lugano 2-3.

Lugano inflicted the damage in the first half, when its players made Zurich’s goalkeeper Pascolo fetch the ball three times from the back of his nets. Rossi opened the scoring in the 14th minute, followed by Bastida six minutes before half time.

Just as the teams were about to head off for their break, Lugano inflicted a real blow to Zurich, Rossi netting his second goal of the day

The home side managed only to reply once in the first 45 minutes thanks to Kavelashvili, and a second goal from Quentin later on was not enough to keep the Ticino team from walking away with a well-deserved victory.

Zurich could have pulled away from the relegation zone with a win. Instead they remain stuck on 25 points, just one ahead of Aarau after 19 matches of the preliminary round.

Tenth-placed Neuchâtel Xamax also crept to within three points of Zurich with a scoreless draw against Bern’s Young Boys, although they may have lost two points after dominating the opposition.

Aarau and Xamax face each other next Saturday in what may be a decisive match.

Basel qualified

In Saturday’s action, Basel became the first team to qualify for the final round with its short one-nil victory over Aarau.

Sion reinforced its second place on the league table after a strong away performance against Geneva’s Servette, with a 2-3 win.

St Gallen lost ground to Sion and Lugano after Saturday’s match at the Brüggifeld. The locals, who could see their defender Zellweger head off to German team Cologne, gave away two valuable points drawing one-all against bottom-feeders Lucerne.

Zurich’s Grasshoppers enjoyed a comfortable away victory against wooden-spooners Lausanne, winning 4-2. The first 16 minutes of the game provided most of the fireworks with three goals.

Basel leads the standings with 37 points after 19 matches, with Sion second on 33 and Lugano now third on 32 after its Sunday win. Zurich is still eighth, one point ahead of ninth-placed Aarau, and three in front of Neuchâtel Xamax.

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR