Middlesbrough 4 Basle 1 <i>(Boro win 4-3 on aggregate)</i>: Maccarone crowns night to remember at Riverside

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The Independent Online

Massimo Maccarone capped a memorable European night with a 90th-minute goal to complete a remarkable revival by Middlesbrough and a place in the Uefa Cup semi-finals.

Middlesbrough's task looked impossible after Basle scored an early away goal, leaving Steve McClaren's team the task of scoring four times. They achieved their target thanks to two goals from Mark Viduka, generating a belief that was fulfilled when Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink scored from long range in the 79th minute before Maccarone's dramatic winner.

It was just reward for the enterprise shown by Middlesbrough, who could have had several penalties and employed four strikers in the closing stages against a team down to 10 men after two bookable offences for Daniel Majstorovic.

McClaren said: "I don't think you will get a better night in Middlesbrough's history again. I'm so pleased - I'm ecstatic. We said before the game that it would take a monumental performance to come through this game and that's what we got from the team."

For once, the football hyperbole was justified. This was a match worthy of any superlative, although Basle appeared to be on their way to a routine success when Franck Queudrue foolishly conceded a 22nd-minute free-kick in an off-the-ball incident. Mladen Petric's free-kick was headed down by Boris Smiljanic and Eduardo was unchallenged as he pounced from close range to score.

Viduka was the catalyst for the comeback when he exchanged passes with Aiyegbeni Yakubu before scoring powerfully in the 33rd minute. The Australian accepted another pass from his fellow striker in the 57th minute and rounded the keeper to score.

Hasselbaink, who replaced James Morrison at the start of the second half, added Middlesbrough's third from 25 yards in the 79th minute following the dismissal of Majstorovic.

And another substitute, Maccarone, became a Middlesbrough legend - earning Boro a semi-final against Steaua Bucharest - when he turned in the rebound after Fabio Rochemback's shot was saved.

McClaren said: "To go 1-0 down and come back to win is just incredible. I've got a very happy dressing- room and rightly so. We felt that the last 20 minutes would be ours because of the energy they expanded in the first hour. It was just a question of whether we kept our cool.

"At half-time we believed that, if we could get the second goal, we could go on and get two more. We were running out of time, but people stepped forward and we got there in the end."

The Basle manager, Christian Gross, the former Tottenham Hotspur manager, said: "Hasselbaink changed the whole game. We were under pressure and we succumbed. Middlesbrough threw everything at us and we didn't play well enough. Things happen like this in football. Now I believe Middlesbrough can go on to win the cup."

Middlesbrough (4-4-2): Schwarzer; Parnaby, Riggott, Southgate, Queudrue (Maccarone, 67); Morrison (Hasselbaink, h-t), Boateng, Rochemback, Downing; Viduka, Yakubu (90). Substitutes not used: Jones (gk), Ehiogu, Doriva, Davies.

Basle (4-5-1): Zuberbühler; Zanni, Majstorovic, Smiljanic, Berner; Degen (Chipperfield, 61), Delgado (Ergic, 70), Ba, Petric, Sterjovski (Quennoz, 85); Eduardo Da Silva. Substitutes not used: Crayton (gk), Rakitic, Kulaksizoglu.

Referee: Y Baskakov (Russia).

Uefa Cup semi-finals

Schalke 04 v Seville

Steaua Bucharest v Middlesbrough

First legs: Thursday 20 April

Second legs: Thursday 27 April

Final: 10 May (Eindhoven)

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