BASEL: Activists protesting against Champions League sponsor Gazprom abseiled from the stadium roof in Basel to force a brief halt to the Group E tie against Schalke.
UEFA said in a statement the incident “will be notified” in reports of match officials regarding “the potential opening of disciplinary proceedings.” The incident had extra weight because Basel is being proposed by the Swiss federation for matches in the pan-European Euro 2020.
The activists, apparently supporting environmental group Greenpeace, unfurled a banner which read “Gazprom. Don’t Foul The Arctic.” The Russian energy giant is not only a main sponsor of the Champions League but also of German club Schalke who went on to win the match 1-0 on a 54th-minute goal from Julian Draxler.
The other group game saw Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea recover from their slip-up against Basel with a crushing 4-0 victory over Steaua Bucharest in Romania.
The Londoners were dealt a blow early on when Fernando Torres suffered a knee injury and was replaced by Samuel Eto’o. But they soon had something to cheer as Eto’o set up Ramires for the opener after 20 minutes and a minute before half-time Eto’o’s shot was pushed against Daniel Georgievski by goalkeeper Ciprian Tatarusanu for an own goal.
Ramires grabbed his second 10 minutes after the break to make sure of the three points, and Frank Lampard added some late gloss in the final minute.
Last season’s beaten finalists Borussia Dortmund picked up their first points of this year’s campaign as they saw off pointless Marseille 3-0 in their Group F clash.
Dortmund lost to Napoli two weeks ago but Robert Lewandowski put them on course for victory in the 19th minute and Marco Reus made it two seven minutes after the break. Lewandowski finished off the scoring in the 79th minute from the penalty spot after Reus had been fouled.
Arsenal lead the Group F table with maximum points after a 2-0 victory over Napoli that featured a first Gunners goal for Mesut Ozil. The German opened the scoring after eight minutes and then set up Olivier Giroud for the second seven minutes later.
Atletico Madrid have maximum points in Group G after Arda Turan’s late goal gave them a 2-1 victory over Porto. In-form Jackson Martinez gave the visitors a 16th-minute lead but Diego Godin levelled 13 minutes into the second half and Turan struck the winner in the 86th minute.
Zenit St Petersburg’s hopes of reaching the knockout stages were hit by a goalless draw at home to FK Austria. The Russian league leaders hit a post early on through Hulk but were dealt a major blow just before half-time when Axel Witsel was sent off.
Barcelona avenged last season’s defeat against Celtic as Cesc Fabregas scored the only goal of the game in Glasgow. Celtic kept Barca at bay until the 76th minute, while Fabregas’ header came moments after the hosts had twice gone agonisingly close.
Celtic’s task was made even harder by the 59th-minute sending off of midfielder Scott Brown for a foul on Neymar.
Also in Group H, a late Mario Balotelli penalty earned AC Milan a 1-1 draw against Ajax. The Dutchmen thought they had won it through Stefano Denswil’s 90th-minute header but there was still time for Balotelli to be felled by Mike van der Hoorn and the Italian converted from the spot.