Thursday, May 13, 2010

13 May 2006 - So Much For Swiss Neutrality

On 13 May 2006, FC Basel hosted rivals FC Zürich in the last match for both clubs in the Swiss Super League season. The match - and the league title - were decided by a last-second goal in stoppage time to give Zürich their first league title in 25 years.

Basel, who had won the two previous league titles, started the day in first place, three points ahead of Zürich. The visitors, however, had a better goal differential, which meant that a win would push them over Basel into first place in the final league table.

It was an ugly match, with both sides committing several hard fouls, and it was close. By the end of regulation, the score was 1-1, which had the Basel supporters celebrating their imminent third consecutive title. But in the third minute of injury time, the referee awarded Zürich a throw-in. The throw went down the right side of the pitch to Zürich midfielder Florian Stahel, who crossed it into the Basel penalty area where it found his teammate, defender Iulian Filipescu. With only seconds left in the match, Filipescu fired the ball into the net past Basel keeper Pascal Zuberbühler to put Zürich ahead 2-1. The referee ended the match right after the goal.

As the Zürich players and team officials celebrated the win, they were attacked by dozens of Basel supporters who poured onto the pitch. For his heroics, Filipescu was singled out by several of the Basel fans, one of whom threw a flare at the Romanian defender. Even after the teams left the stadium, fighting continued between hooligans and local police well into the night.

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