Basel - Manchester United were forced to wait to book a
place in the Champions League last 16 as Michael Lang's last-gasp strike gave
Basel a shock 1-0 win at St Jakob-Park on Wednesday.
Jose Mourinho's side were moments away from securing top
spot in Group A when Lang pounced on sloppy defending to steal the points for
second-placed Basel a minute before the end.
United hit the woodwork twice in a dominant first half, but
they were outplayed after the interval and could have few complaints about
Lang's dramatic winner.
United remain in first place and they just need to avoid
losing by more than six goals at home to CSKA Moscow - three points behind
Mourinho's men on nine and level with Basel - in their last fixture on December
5 to ensure their progress to the knockout stages.
Basel are also in the hunt heading into their last group
game against Benfica, in which they just need to equal CSKA's result to
Mourinho will be especially frustrated by the defeat because
it means he cannot afford to rest players against CSKA, just days before the
"We lost because in the first half we should be 5-0 up
but we could not score one goal after being so dominant," Mourinho said.
"It looks for many periods in the first half it was
impossible not to win.
"I think the majority of the second half the feeling of
everyone was OK, it will be 0-0, but they got the late goal."
Mourinho made seven changes from the team that beat
Newcastle 4-1 at the weekend, with Argentine defender Marcos Rojo making his
first appearance since a suffering cruciate ligament injury in April.
Mourinho had expressed concern about the pitch at St Jakob-Park
after it was replaced following heavy damage during Switzerland's recent World
Cup play-off with Northern Ireland.
However, United didn't seem bothered when they pieced
together a sweeping move that almost brought an early opening goal.
Paul Pogba sliced through the Basel defence and found Romelu
Lukaku, whose shot on the turn was well saved by Tomas Vaclik.
Moments later, the visitors went even closer when Marouane
Fellaini's header was cleared off the line by Manuel Akanji.
Fellaini threatened again with another header that fizzed
wide from Daley Blind's free-kick.
United were dominating possession without applying the
finishing touch and Fellaini maintained that frustrating trend when the Belgian
hit the post with a close-range header from Anthony Martial's cross.
Martial was denied by Vaclik at the end of a surging run
before Rojo rattled the bar from long-range.
Having been penned back in the first half, Basel almost
snatched the lead after the interval when Serey Die drilled just wide.
Suddenly unable to find any rhythm, United rode their luck
again as Renato Steffen's powerful effort was narrowly off-target.
Mourinho sent on Nemanja Matic and Marcus Rashford, but
United didn't respond and Lang nearly made them pay by crashing a header against
That escape was the signal for United striker Zlatan
Ibrahimovic to come on in the 74th minute, for the second appearance since his
return from a serious knee injury.
Die tried to steal the spotlight from the Swede with a
25-yard strike that drew a good stop from Sergio Romero.
Even Ibrahimovic couldn't help United stem the tide and
Basel's pressure was finally rewarded in the 89th minute.
With United appealing in vain for offside, Raoul Petretta's
measured pass found Lang and he tapped in at the far post to leave Mourinho