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Young Boys leave home

22,000 spectators attended the last game at the old Wankdorf

(Keystone)

Fireworks and celebrations aren't the normal way to mark a 1-1 draw on the first day of the season. But Saturday's match between Young Boys of Bern and FC Lugano was no normal fixture.

After almost fifty years of playing at the Wankdorf stadium, the team from Bern are moving out of their old ground to allow the bulldozers in. The former national stadium, the Wankdorf is to be demolished in August so that a new arena can be built in its place.

If Lugano's task on Saturday was to serve as willing victims on a night of nostalgia, the men from Ticino must have misread their job descriptions. Runners-up last season, Roberto Morinini's team began the match with vigour, taking a deserved 18th minute lead through Julio Rossi.

As the match wore into the second half it seemed that the Young Boys' big night was about to turn sour. But a harsh-looking sending off for Lugano's Olivier Biaggi soon helped sweeten things up for the home fans.

Just two minutes after Biaggi's dismissal for a second yellow card, Bern grabbed the equaliser, substitute Reto Burri deflecting a free kick past Lugano keeper Stefano Razzetti.

An historic win was to prove beyond Bern's capabilities, but as a newly-promoted side taking on one of the most potent strike forces in the Swiss league, the Young Boys players did more than enough to get Saturday's post-match party off with a swing.

Zurich's two top teams were also celebrating the early return to action on Saturday. Defending champions Grasshoppers Zurich secured an opening victory at home to Aarau thanks to a single goal scored in the third minute of play by Senegalese midfielder Papa Bouba Diop.

FC Zurich enjoyed a surprise 2-0 win over Swiss Cup holders Servette with goals from Mikheil Kavelashvili and Frédéric Chassot.

Like Bern, Neuchâtel Xamax were able to celebrate a draw, after their match in Lucerne ended goal-less. After facing a financial struggle which made it hard even to assemble a full squad, Xamax are also fighting hard to shrug off their label as massive favourites for relegation.

After starting their league campaigns with defeats, Lausanne and Basel both picked themselves up with weekend victories in the second round of Europe's Intertoto Cup.

Lausanne saw off Austrian former Champions League participants Sturm Graz after adding a 3-3 draw to last week's 1-0 away win.

On Sunday two goals from Andre Muff steered Basel to a 2-0 away win over Icelandic team Grindavik to complete a comfortable 5-0 victory overall.

swissinfo with agencies


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