Tuesday, November 9, 2010

FC Luzern vs. FC Basel: Tennis Ball Protest in the Swiss Super League

The biggest match of the season in the Swiss Super League took place at the weekend amidst massive protests by irate fans.
With Luzern and Basel battling it on top of the table many felt that this particular match should have taken pride of place and be broadcast live across the country in a prime time slot.
The match was switched to 12:45 on Sunday morning as Swiss TV decided that the first round ATP Basel Tournament between Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic was more important.

This obviously upset both sets of fans who decided to vent their anger by throwing thousands of tennis balls onto the pitch as a protest. And just as stewards had cleaned up the first “volley” they decided to let loose with a second load. Who said the Swiss had no sense of humour?
The Swiss Super League has been dominated by FC Basel over the last ten years with Thorsten Fink’s side having won the title no less than five times, finishing second three times, and third twice. The ex-Bayern Munich midfielder took over from Christian Gross in 2009 and guided FCB to the title in his debut year.
They are the side to beat once again this season as Luzern have emerged from the crowd as early contenders. With the wind in their sails Die Leuchten entertained FCB with the winners of the match guaranteed top spot in the league.
This is a tie that has been dominated by Basel in recent years having won eight of the last eleven games between the sides as Luzern claimed the other three. In 2009 the two sides played out the game of the season as Basel won 5-4 with Marco Streller scoring the winner in the 93rd minute.
Luzern’s Allmend Stadium is currently being demolished in anticipation of being re-built for 2011 so for the last two seasons they have played all their matches at 4th Tier FC Emmen’s Gersag Stadium which only holds 8,700. And that was after Die Leuchten renovated the ground to add enclosed seating and an extra 3,750 seats.
Nelson Ferreira opened the scoring for Luzern with a thunderbolt in off the crossbar in the 63rd minute after being set-up by Swiss legend Hakan Yakin. As Basel forced the issue FCL was forced deeper and deeper and in the 93rd minute the champions scored the equalizer their play deserved.
Ferderico Almerares, who had replaced midfielder Benjamin Huggel, popped up to nick the ball past Zibung as Basel literally got out of jail.
In the end the day was a good for Basel. A highly credible draw away to the closest rivals and Roger Federer, their number one fan, won too.