Date: 9th December 2011 at 12:53pm
Written by:
Mr Da Cunha - one of the few players to emerge with any credit from Basel

Mr Da Cunha - one of the few players to emerge with any credit from Basel

In what was a bad night for the Manchester clubs Manchester United crashed out of the Champions League at the last hurdle of the group stage.

United went into the match against FC Basel needing a win or a draw to qualify from their group, a feat which was deemed easily achievable when the groups were drawn.

However qualification looked more of a challenge in the 9th minute when following a very sloppy defensive mishap, involving Smalling and Vidic clashing in the air, Streller was gifted an open chance at goal and finished well.

United were quiet after the Basel goal but did get into their stride eventually as they started to look more creative. They created chances and gave the Basel defence a few scares but failed to capitalise on their moments in control. Sommer in the Basel goal also thwarted a few of United’s attempts to pull a goal back.

United’s night got worse though when they lost Vidic to a knee injury shortly before half time. A horrible injury for the skipper added to the woes on the night and an already lengthy list of injuries for the next few weeks.

Phil Jones gave United a very late glimmer of hope when he stumbled the ball past the line after a messy goalmouth tussle as Basel tried to cling onto their own qualification.

Hopes of qualification for United became very distant in the 85th minute when a very shaky defence let a Basel cross slip through for Frei to head low past De Gea.

United were unlucky with a few chances and Sommer denied them on a few occasions. They were almost gifted a lifeline when Steinhöfer headed against his own bar only for the ball to bounce clear. However generally United were poor and could not beat Basel on the night and advance past the group stages.

Despite a generally bad performance one player who looked decent for United was Nani. United’s attacking performances have been improving in the past couple of league games and they looked energetic in the attack against Basel, albeit at the sacrifice of defending. United managed a decent attacking performance with Nani at the helm of it, it was unfortunate that a mixture of bad luck and poor finishing meant United did not turn their attacks into goals.

Nani looked alive as he created an excellent chance for United as his low cross should have been finished by Rooney or Park, both of whom squandered an easy chance gifted to them by the winger. Nani always made himself available for the pass as he attempted to be the inspiration for United to get the result they needed.

Nani was United’s danger-man throughout looking very bright, it was just unfortunate he was the only one and could not win the match alone. United’s early exit will be regarded as very disappointing and the side will now be competing in the Europa League.