FC Basel 2-1 Man Utd

Wayne Rooney
Rooney and his team-mates must now make do with Europa League football

Manchester United failed to advance past the Champions League group stage for only the third time in 17 years after a humiliating defeat at Basel.

The three-time European champions and reigning Premier League winners went behind to Marco Streller's strike after poor defending and a goalkeeping error.

They lost captain Nemanja Vidic to a bad knee injury before hitting the bar.

Alexander Frei nodded a second before Phil Jones's late header left United a goal short of the draw they needed.

Sir Alex Ferguson's men, who have reached three of the past four Champions League finals, finished third in Group C as Benfica and Basel reached the knockout stage.

Ferguson and his players looked shell-shocked at the end and they will now have to make do with Europa League football.

Basel are into the last 16 for only the second time in their history, caretaker manager Heiko Vogel capping his short spell in charge with an historic triumph.

Questions will be asked of United goalkeeper David de Gea, who ought to have prevented Streller's opener, while Vidic may have a serious knee problem.

United arrived at St Jakob Park knowing a point would be enough to send them through but - with defeat meaning certain elimination - Ferguson cautioned against the complacency that saw Basel in September.

They got off to a vibrant start, passing and moving with urgency to deny their opponents possession and threaten an early breakthrough. For the first nine minutes, Basel barely had a touch as an attack-minded United line-up rampaged forward.

However, the hosts managed to limit their opponents to only one sight of goal in the time, a harmless Park strike that sailed well over the bar, and United's failure to capitalise on their dominance was punished with the first meaningful Basel attack.

A collision between Vidic and Chris Smalling allowed Xherdan Shaqiri to collect a cross on the left and, with Smalling in a daze on the floor, he produced a low centre.

Instead of gathering the ball, De Gea poked it away with his foot and Streller was able to place a powerful half-volley into the net.

United went into their shells and it was not until the 29th minute that they mustered a response - one from which they should have equalised.

Nani's cross from the right teed Rooney up for a routine close-range finish, but he miscued a shot he would usually bury and Park could not convert the follow-up.

That seemed to inject life into United, and Rooney was denied by goalkeeper Yann Sommer from a Giggs reverse pass before seeing a penalty shout turned down.

Nani was causing no shortage of problems but Basel held firm, and United's evening took a turn for the worse when Vidic twisted his right knee in a challenge with Streller.

He left the field on a stretcher in clear discomfort, but his team ploughed on and Rooney saw an angled strike sail narrowly wide at the start of the second half.

Basel continued to defend for their lives while occasionally threatening on the break.

The ever-dangerous Shaqiri curled a shot just wide and De Gea saved well from an Alexander Frei free-kick.

United responded with a Nani cross that Markus Steinhofer volleyed on to his own bar but then came the decisive blow, Frei ghosting in behind Smalling at the back post to head home Shaqiri's cross.

Jones forced a header over the line after Danny Welbeck was denied from close range and fellow substitute Federico Macheda hit the woodwork, but it was too little, too late.

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