Crusaders impressed in a 1-1 home draw with Basel but the Irish League side were beaten 3-1 on aggregate in the Europa Conference League qualifier.
The Seaview team had it all to do after a 2-0 first-leg loss in Switzerland and fell further behind when Liam Millar curled into the top corner.
Crues captain Billy Joe Burns diverted Jarlath O’Rourke’s shot into the net to level early in the second half.
Jonathan McMurray went close for the hosts as Basel held on to progress.
A big crowd turned out in north Belfast as Crusaders sought to produce a massive upset against a team with a rich European pedigree.
The hosts were first to threaten with a Ben Kennedy effort, before keeping Basel at bay thanks to a well organised and disciplined rearguard.
Basel finally worked an opening when Fabian Frei’s side-footed shot crashed against the bar, before Andy Diouf saw his strike deflected just wide.
Millar made the breakthrough on 36 minutes as the Canadian cut inside on the left before sending the ball beyond an outstretched Jonathan Tuffey.
Crusaders carried a threat on the break with Paul Heatley dangerous on the left, while Jordan Forsythe rifled over from long range.
Stephen Baxter’s team levelled in the 53rd minute as an alert Burns stepped into space to redirect O’Rourke’s shot past Marwin Hitz.
Basel responded by pressing for a second goal and Darian Males whistled over before his powerful shot was deflected off-target.
Crusaders almost capitalised on a mistake by the visitors after 63 minutes as McMurray intercepted a weak back-header, but Hitz raced out to make the block.
It was a golden opportunity and the last one of the game as Basel controlled the final stages to reach the third qualifying round.
- 25ClarkeSubstituted forWeirat 72′minutes
- 3HegartyBooked at 70minsSubstituted forOwensat 82′minutesBooked at 88mins
- 19WinchesterSubstituted forMcMurrayat 60′minutesBooked at 74mins
- 7LowryBooked at 85mins
- 22HeatleyBooked at 90mins
- 4ComasSubstituted forKatterbachat 68′minutes
- 21PelmardBooked at 74mins
- 19MalesSubstituted forNdoyeat 75′minutes
- 9AmdouniBooked at 21mins
- 7MillarSubstituted forLtaiefat 90′minutes
- 11SzalaiBooked at 86mins
- 16de Mol
- 96Mendes Mango Fernandes
Match ends, Crusaders 1, Basel 1.
Second Half ends, Crusaders 1, Basel 1.
Foul by Michael Lang (Basel).
Paul Heatley (Crusaders) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Paul Heatley (Crusaders) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Michael Lang (Basel) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Paul Heatley (Crusaders).
Substitution, Basel. Sayfallah Ltaief replaces Liam Millar.
Noah Katterbach (Basel) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Jonathan McMurray (Crusaders).
Ádám Szalai (Basel) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Daniel Larmour (Crusaders).
Jordan Owens (Crusaders) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Nasser Djiga (Basel) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Jordan Owens (Crusaders).
Attempt missed. Andy Diouf (Basel) left footed shot from long range on the right is close, but misses the top left corner from a direct free kick.
Dan Ndoye (Basel) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Philip Lowry (Crusaders).
Ádám Szalai (Basel) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Ádám Szalai (Basel).
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