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FC Zurich stun Basle to take title on goal difference

ZURICH, May 13 (Reuters) - FC Zurich sealed their first Swiss league title in 25 years in the most dramatic fashion on Saturday when they beat Basle 2-1 with a last-minute winner to overtake their opponents on goal difference.

Needing to beat Basle at the defending champions' sold-out St. Jakobs Stadium, where a draw would have given the hosts the title, Romanian defender Iulian Filipescu scored the winner in the third minute of injury time with the last kick of the match. He redirected a pass from close range to score his only goal of the season.

'This time it was on my side, the luck,' Filipescu told Swiss TV.

Zurich went ahead in the 30th minute through Guinean striker Alhassane Keita but Basle seemed to have done enough after striker Mladen Petric fired a 70th-minute equaliser from a free kick. A draw would have been enough to give Basle their third successive title.

Zurich had been eight points behind Basle coming out of the winter break but closed the gap with a run of seven successive league wins.

Saturday's victory, in a game played in pouring rain, also ended a Swiss record run by Basle of 59 home league matches without defeat.

Basle could have snatched the crown earlier this week if they had they not lost against Bern's Young Boys on Wednesday.

'We were so close. It's a great disappointment,' said Basle coach Christian Gross.

He said his team had run out of steam after a long season. 'We reacted too slowly... at the end we lacked freshness,' Gross told Swiss TV.

Violence broke out after the final whistle when disappointed fans stormed the pitch and headed for Filipescu and the rest of the winning team. Police used teargas and fired rubber pellets to disperse the rioters.