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Fenerbahçe safe at summit after win at Marseille

Thursday 22 November 2012 23.20 CET
Fenerbahçe celebrate Bekir İrtegün's decisive goal

A spectacular Bekir İrtegün overhead kick earned Fenerbahçe SK a 1-0 win at Olympique de Marseille and a place in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 as Group C winners.

The Turkish club needed just a point to be sure of progress but wrapped up their qualification with a fourth triumph in five games. Bekir's 40th-minute strike ultimately proved the difference, but Fenerbahçe were forced to withstand plenty of second-half pressure, with Marseille hitting the bar through Rafidine Abdullah in added time as they succumbed to elimination.

Moussa Sow's pace was a major source of early menace for the OM defence and the forward squared for Dirk Kuyt to stab wide midway through the first half. That seemed to wake the home side up and their best first-half opportunities followed swiftly, Jordan Ayew having a shot blocked by former Marseille defender Joseph Yobo and brother André firing over following a dextrous one-two with Morgan Amalfitano.

Élie Baup's charges nonetheless fell behind before the interval when defender Bekir finished athletically and magnificently low to Steve Mandanda's right, connecting acrobatically after Mehmet Topal had flicked on a Cristian corner. OM had failed to depute a player to guard the near post.

The hosts began the second half at quite a lick, with Jordan Ayew's dangerous shot tipped behind by Volkan Demirel before his sibling's far-post header from an exquisite Jérémy Morel cross hit the side netting. Joey Barton then sent a sweetly struck left-footer narrowly wide on 84 minutes, but, as news filtered in of VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach's opener against AEL Limassol FC, OM knew the game was up. Abdullah's late effort against the woodwork merely summed up their frustration.

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