Cluj beats FC Basel 2-1 in Champions League
Early goals from Ionut Rada and Lacina Traore was enough to give Cluj a 2-1 victory over FC Basel on Wednesday in their opening Champions League match.
Cluj went ahead when Rada headed in the opener from the middle of the box in the ninth minute after a corner from Juan Emmanuel Culio. Three minutes later, Traore added the second from seven meters out after taking a pass from Culio.
Valentin Stoker pulled one back for Basel with a header in first-half injury time after a corner by Alex Frei.
Basel gradually took control of the game after the hosts early goals but Benjamin Huggel's header in the 36th was stopped by Cluj goalkeeper Nuno Claro. In the 44th, Frei's free kick from about 17 meters went high.
Basel continued attacking in the second half, but couldn't break through the host's defense.
Cluj's Gabriel Muresan stopped a goal by intercepting Frei's attempt after goalkeeper Claro had dropped the ball in the 57th minute. Frei's 88th-minute free kick hit the wall in an another good chance wasted by the visitors.
Cluj mayor Sorun Apostu had refused to attend the match due to what he said was an ''unfair and insulting'' description of the city in Swiss newspaper Blick. The paper likened Romania's fourth largest city with the impoverished suburbs of South African cities.
''True, Cluj is not what the Swiss newspaper presented,'' Apostu was quoted as saying by Mediafax news agency.