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Roma with a victory over Basle
Roma moved up to second in Group E of the Champions League with a hard-fought victory over Basle.

Roma moved into a 2-0 lead through Jeremy Menez (16) and Francesco Totti's 26th-minute penalty.

The home side deservedly hit back in an entertaining clash through Alexander Frei's close-range header after 69 minutes, but Roma restored their two-goal cushion seven minutes later through substitute Leandro Greco.

Basle refused to throw in the towel and Xherdan Shaqiri made it 3-2 on 82 minutes with a smart finish, but Roma held on for the win.

The Italian side had the first chance after just three minutes when Mirko Vucinic set up Menez to fire just over the bar from a narrow angle.

But Basle should have taken the lead on 11 minutes when Valentin Stocker headed down to Benjamin Huggel just six yards out.

He controlled the ball on his chest and struck a left-footed shot towards the bottom corner, but Roma goalkeeper Julio Sergio pulled off a superb reaction save.

Somewhat against the run of play Roma took the lead on 16 minutes when Menez pounced on a loose ball to sidefoot home into the bottom corner.

And the same player almost repeated the trick moments later only to fire wide as he looked to be clipped from behind by Huggel.

Roma did not have to wait long to double their lead however, John Arne Riise being brought down just inside the area by Stocker and Totti converting the penalty despite goalkeeper Franco Costanzo guessing the right way and getting two hands to the ball.

Basle could count themselves unfortunate to be two goals down and came out in determined fashion in the second half, with David Abraham firing a curling effort just inches over the bar.

And they got back into the game on 68 minutes when Stocker's cross from the left flicked off the head of Nicolas Burdisso at the near post to allow Frei to head home from three yards.

Marco Streller then hammered a shot against the post as Basle threatened once more, but Roma went straight down the other end and Greco fired home from 12 yards after Marco Borriello dived to try to win a penalty.

Xherdan Shaqiri pulled a goal back with a superb left-footed finish into the bottom corner on 82 minutes, but Basle could not find an equaliser and ended the game with 10 men after Stocker was shown a second yellow card in the closing minutes for a foul on Totti.

# Ranieri: We're like boxers

Claudio Ranieri paid tribute to his injury-hit Roma side after they held on to beat Basel and breathe new life into their Champions League campaign.

"At the moment we are like boxers - we must cover ourselves when needed and put in the punches when we have the chance.

"The first half was excellent after Basel's good first 20 minutes, then we took control of midfield. In the second we should've controlled the tempo, but instead we suffered as Basel opened up the play and we were unable to hit them on the break.

"We were unable to get Jeremy Menez into possession. Their central midfielders were pushing forward, so I thought we'd risk it and leave the flanks to them while hitting them through the middle. It worked.

"We suffered tonight and we won, that is the important thing. I always have to put in quality players and the more problems we cause for our opponents, the better, but at the same time I have to find a balance."

Francesco Totti added: "We had to change gear and it was about time. I was able to break my drought, but we wanted to win and now the table looks very different. We're a little more relaxed.

"It is an important victory that helps us psychologically and boosts confidence. We are in good shape and it's the first time this season we have won two games on the trot. Here's hoping there's a third too. The unity is our strength, as the team all rows in unison. We hope that we can make the fans and the club happy."
 
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