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Basel shock Manchester United with late winner

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.

Basel shock Manchester United with late winner
St-Jakob-Park. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
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 5th 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 qualify.
   
Mourinho will be especially frustrated by the defeat because it means he cannot afford to rest players against CSKA, just days before the Manchester derby.
   
“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.
 
Penned back
 
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 the bar.
   
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 cursing.
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BASEL

Is Basel the best Swiss city for foreigners and Geneva the worst?

Switzerland’s cities usually nab top rankings in international quality of living studies. But in a new survey, only one Swiss town made it to the top 10. Here’s why.

Basel is Switzerland’s best city for international workers. Photo by Nadine Marfurt on Unsplash
Basel is Switzerland’s best city for international workers. Photo by Nadine Marfurt on Unsplash

Basel is ranked in the 9th place out of 57 cities surveyed in the new Expat City Ranking 2021.

Carried out by InterNations, the annual survey rates cities around the world in terms of advantages they offer to foreign nationals who move there for professional reasons.

READ MORE: The best commuter towns if you work in Basel

The survey, which polled 12,420 people for its 2021 edition, ranks cities based on criteria such as Quality of Urban Living, Getting Settled, Urban Work Life, Finance & Housing, and Local Cost of Living, along with their sub-categories.

Of the four Swiss cities analysed in the study — Geneva, Zurich, Basel, and Lausanne — only Basel was highly rated, and is one of only three European cities ranked in the top 10 (the others are Prague, in 7th place, and Madrid in 10th).

This is why

A popular destination for international employees because of its pharmaceutical industry, including giants like Roche and Novartis, Basel ranked well across all categories.

For instance, it is in the 1st place for its public transportation network, in a 2nd position in terms of Quality of Urban Living, and in 3rd for Safety & Politics.

All expats in Basel (100 percent) are satisfied with public transportation, versus 69 percent globally. The public transportation system is excellent”, one respondent said.

Nearly all participants (97 percent) feel safe there, against 84 percent globally. The city also performs well in the Urban Work Life Index (6th), particularly for the state of the local economy, which is in the 1st place and the working hours (8th); additionally,  75 percent are happy with their working hours, compared to 66 percent globally.

More than four in five expats (84 percent) find their disposable household income enough or more than enough to cover their expenses (versus 77 percent globally), and 77 percent are satisfied with their financial situation (against 64 globally).

Where Basel is doing less well is in the  Finance & Housing Index (34th place), though it still ranks ahead of other Swiss cities: Zurich (37th), Lausanne (39th), and Geneva (53rd).

But the city ranks 48th in the Local Cost of Living Index: 69 percent of foreigners living there are dissatisfied with the cost of living, more than double the global average (34 percent).

The Getting Settled Index (39th) is another of Basel’s weak points. Internationals struggle with getting used to the local culture: more than one in four respondents (26 percent) state that they find this difficult — this figure is 18 percent 1globally.

It is worth mentioning that in the 2020 InterNations survey, Basel ranked in the 24th place, so it progressed impressively this year.

What about Geneva?

Switzerland’s most “international” city due to the presence of a number of United Nations agencies and multinational companies, places near the bottom of the ranking, in the 47th place.

“It has the worst results among the Swiss cities included in the report and is the only one that does not rank in the global top 10 of the Quality of Urban Living Index”, InterNations said.

Similar to the other Swiss cities, Geneva ranks among the top 10 for political stability (1st) and in the bottom 10 for the affordability of healthcare (56th). However, it lags behind for all other factors, with expats particularly dissatisfied with the local leisure options (23 percent versus 14 percent globally).

“Interestingly, the comparably low quality of life does not make Geneva any easier to afford: on the contrary, it is the worst-ranking city worldwide in the Local Cost of Living Index (57th) and by far the worst-rated Swiss city in the Finance & Housing Index (53rd)”, the report noted.

It added that “while Geneva comes 26th in the Finance Subcategory, it ranks 55th in the Housing Subcategory, only ahead of Dublin (56th) and Munich (57th). Expats find housing in Geneva unaffordable (87 percent  vs. 39 percent globally) and hard to find (63 percent vs. 23 percent globally).”

READ MORE: Why is Geneva’s rent the highest in Switzerland?

Geneva has a fairly average performance in the Urban Work Life Index (28th) but receives worse results in the Getting Settled Index (43rd). It ends up in the bottom 10 of the Feeling Welcome (52nd), Local Friendliness (50th), and Friends & Socializing (48th) subcategories.

“It is certainly not easy to integrate into the local culture and community,” said one respondent. In fact, 35 percent find the locals generally unfriendly, against 16 percent globally).

The difficulty is making friends in Switzerland is a well-known phenomenon among the international community.

READ MORE: ‘Suspicious of the unknown’: Is it difficult to make friends in Switzerland?

Maybe this is also why they find it hard to get used to the local culture (32 percent versus  18 percent globally) and do not feel at home — 33 percent compared to 19 percent  globally).

Zurich and Lausanne

The two other Swiss cities with a high proportion of international residents fall between the “best” and the “worst”, with Lausanne in the 21st place and Zurich in the 34th.

“All of them rank among the bottom 10 worldwide for the local cost living but among the top 10 for the local quality of life— except for Geneva, which lands in 21st place.”, the survey noted.

This InterNations chart shows how the four the cities are doing in each category. Please click here for a larger version of the chart. 

Image: Internations

You can find out more about each of the four cities from these links. 

READ MORE: Ten things Zurich residents take for granted

Zurich versus Geneva: Six big differences between Switzerland’s two biggest cities

Swiss town ranked the ‘world’s best small city’

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