FC Basel came out of the winter break swinging as they look to close the gap between themselves, the reigning champions, and first place Grasshoppers FC.Murat Yakin's men put on a confident and solid display in front of the home fans at St. Jakob-Park coming out of the long winter break. Despite their failure to dazzle in a series of friendlies both at their training camp in Spain and following their return back to Switzerland, the FC Basel that was on the pitch today looked like the defensively sound and highly organized team that the fans know and love.
Good crosses came in from the wings where the entire midfield of David Degen, Fabian Frei, Cabral and new signing Geoffrey Serey Die and were able to pick out their front men Marco Streller and Valentin Stocker. Basel were good in possession but Sion earned themselves plenty of attacking opportunities including some promising free kicks that they were unable to convert. Just before half time, Marco Streller took a brilliant cross from Serey Die and converted it to a goal for Basel, controlling it perfectly on his chest before tapping it past the Sion goalkeeper. The home side went into the locker rooms at the half with a 1-0 lead.
Sion and Basel both made substitutions at the half, Basel's proving to be much more effective than the visitors. Within seven minutes of entering the match, Mohamad Salah scored a simply stunning goal to put Basel 2-0 up. His positioning was perfect and he took two lovely touches to control the ball and then touch it around the keeper, buying himself the space he needed for the tap-in. Salah continued to impress, producing multiple opportunities for himself and his teammates for the remainder of the match.
The second goal opened up the game for Basel and they continued to press for their third. It came in the 57th minute from Valentin Stocker. Although the finish was lovely and composed, the highlight of the play was the long, sweeping cross from Marco Streller that flawlessly dropped to Stocker where he was loosely marked on the far post. With the 3-0 lead, Basel sat back a little more and let the Sion attack push up into their box. A few late corners for the visitors left Sommer's goal unchallenged and the match ended 3-0 to the home side.