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  Tuesday, 26 November, 2002, 21:36 GMT
Man Utd win in Basle
Ruud van Nistelrooy scored twice before going off injured
Van Nistelrooy celebrates scoring for Man Utd
Basle 1-3 Manchester United

Two goals in two minutes from Ruud van Nistelrooy ensured Manchester United succeeded where Celtic and Liverpool had failed - by winning in Basle.

Christian Gimenez had got Christian Gross' team off to a superb start with a goal after just 31 seconds.

And the Swiss team had numerous opportunities to extend their lead.

  Key moments
31 secs: Gimenez gets Basle off to a spectacular start
36 mins: Brown shoots wide from 10 yards
47 mins: Barthez denies Gimenez with a point-blank save
62 mins: Van Nistelrooy heads home Solskjaer's cross
63 mins: Van Nistelrooy puts United in the lead
68 mins: Solskjaer extends United's lead
But United held on and after Van Nistelrooy's double, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer scored a third as the visitors completed a superb comeback to get their Group D campaign off to a winning start.

Basle had scored in the opening 10 minutes of all their Champions League games this season and Giminez's goal once again gave the home team early impetus.


It was a terrible start and an uphill battle for a young team
Sir Alex Ferguson
Quinton Fortune headed Julio Hernan Rossi's header off the line but the ball broke to Scott Chipperfield, who lashed the ball goalwards.

Gimenez deflected Chipperfield's shot past Fabian Barthez as Sir Alex Ferguson looked on in disgust from the sidelines.

The United manager had stressed to his players the importance of not conceding in the opening phase of the match.

Rossi then almost lobbed Barthez with eight minutes gone and Murat Yakin went close with a thunderous free-kick.

United's first-half chances were few and far between but Mickael Silvestre headed narrowly wide and Wes Brown just missed after an intelligent knock-back from Van Nistelrooy.

Basle continued to exploit United's under-strength midfield, and Chipperfield nearly extended his team's lead with half-time looming.

The ball broke to the midfielder after he made a late run into the United area, but he stabbed the ball wide from seven yards under pressure from Brown.

Christian Gimenez scored for Basle
Gimenez celebrates his first-minute goal
Basle had three opportunities to double their lead in the opening minutes of the second half.

Barthez made a point-blank save from Gimenez and then another to deny Ergic before Hakan Yakin's goal-bound shot was crucially deflected wide by Brown.

Both teams then had strong penalty appeals - United for a handball and Basle for a tackle on Hakan Yakin - but referee Valentin Ivanov declined both appeals.

Basle's failure to extend their lead was punished in the most extreme fashion when Van Nistelrooy scored twice in two minutes.

The Dutch striker headed home Solskjaer's cross for the first and shot home from an extremely acute angle for his second after dancing through the Basle defence.

And Solskjaer put the match beyond doubt with United's third goal in seven minutes, clinically finishing with a shot across Pascal Zuberbuehler.

The only note of concern for United was an injury to Van Nistelrooy that forced his premature substitution.


Basle: Zuberbuhler, Zwyssig, Hakan Yakin, Gimenez, Murat Yakin, Cantaluppi, Haas, Ergic (Barberis 84), Atouba, Chipperfield (Tum 73), Juilio Rossi (Duruz 84).
Subs Not Used: Rapo, Quennoz, Huggel, Varela.

Booked: Zwyssig, Atouba.

Man Utd: Barthez, O'Shea, Silvestre, Brown (May 90), Phil Neville, Fortune, Scholes, Veron, Giggs, van Nistelrooy (Forlan 73), Solskjaer (Chadwick 90).
Subs Not Used: Ricardo, Stewart, Pugh, Richardson.

Booked: Scholes, Fortune, Veron.

Attendance: 35,000

Referee: Valentin Ivanov (Russia).

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Five Live's Jonathan Pearce
"United passed a stiff and significant test"
Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson
"The first goal changed the game right round"
 VOTE RESULTS
Who is the greatest?

George Best
 38.66% 

Bobby Charlton
 11.58% 

Mark Hughes
 6.93% 

Denis Law
 9.81% 

Ruud van Nistelrooy
 33.01% 

6492 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

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