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Fenerbahçe on the brink with AEL scalp

Thursday 8 November 2012 21.45 CET
Moussa Sow celebrates with Raul Meireles after doubling Fenerbahçe's lead

Fenerbahçe SK further strengthened their UEFA Europa League credentials with a comfortable 2-0 victory against ten-man AEL Limassol FC, who remain rooted to the foot of Group C.

Aykut Kocaman's charges had yet to win at home in Europe this term, but they lay that ghost to rest with a commanding performance in Istanbul. Dirk Kuyt lifted the pressure after 11 minutes, before Moussa Sow completed the formalities. Edwin Ouon's second-half red card made life even more comfortable for the Turkish hosts, who stretched their lead at the section summit to five points.

On the back foot for long stretches, it was the visitors who showed early sparkle, veteran forward Michalis Konstantinou accepting a measured return from Luciano Bebê before firing into the side netting. With that reprieve, Fenerbahçe stepped up a gear as visiting goalkeeper Matias Degra turned Miroslav Stoch's venomous shot behind. Effervescent forward Kuyt latched on to the resulting corner, displaying fleet of foot to round Degra and sweep in.

The AEL riposte was bullish and seldom lacked ambition, while Fenerbahçe's cutting edge was comparatively explosive. A constant wave of beautifully crafted moves soon led to a second, with flamboyant midfielder Cristian leading the charge. Sow was the beneficiary, feigning to shoot inside the area before curling a sumptuous effort inside the far corner four minutes before the break.

The hosts showed no signs of letting up the pressure after the interval, while AEL boss Jorge Costa attempted to stem the flow with the introduction of Edmar and Chris Dickson on the hour. It was a decision which almost bore fruit as the two substitutes immediately combined, Edmar falling centimetres short of turning in the latter's teasing cross. Any hopes of a comeback were quashed, however, when defender Ouon was sent off for a last-man challenge on Sow 20 minutes from time.

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