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Man United make UCL return vs. Basel

Five Aside
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 By PA Sport

Basel to replace pitch at ahead of Man United game after qualifier damage

Janusz Michallik and Alexis Nunes break down Sunday's World Cup playoff matches, as Switzerland and Croatia qualify.

Basel will replace the pitch on ahead of next week's Champions League game against Manchester United because of the damage sustained in Switzerland's World Cup qualifier.

Heavy rain in the build-up to Sunday's goalless draw against Northern Ireland meant the match was in some doubt leading up to kickoff. It went ahead but the boggy surface did not do either side any favours with the pitch cutting up and restricting the speed of the ball.

The club have decided it is so bad their only option is to relay it ahead of Saturday's visit of Sion, with United to follow four days later.

"Following heavy rainfall and the damage sustained during yesterday's @FIFAWorldCup playoff game between #SUINIR, the pitch at St. Jakob-Park will have to be replaced ahead of Saturday's league game and the #UCL game coming week against @ManUtd,'' said a statement on Basel's Twitter account.

Switzerland had plenty of chances to put the tie away but in the end didn't need them, advancing thanks to their controversial penalty from the first leg.

Northern Ireland midfielder George Saville voiced his criticism on the state of the pitch after the final whistle on Sunday.

"For me, the pitch was disgraceful, I'll be honest with you. I think it was shocking. For a game of this magnitude, this level, to play on a pitch like that I think it's unacceptable, personally," he said.

"We're not using that as an excuse or blaming the conditions. We both got dealt the same cards and you get on with it."

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