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Early Ari opener sends Spartak through

Published: Wednesday 29 August 2012, 23.18CET
Fenerbahçe SK 1-1 FC Spartak Moskva (agg: 2-3)
Despite Moussa Sow offering up a late scare, Ari's early goal ensured Spartak's group stage return.
Early Ari opener sends Spartak through
Spartak Moskva's Ari celebrates scoring the opening goal in the second leg against Fenerbahçe ©Getty Images
Published: Wednesday 29 August 2012, 23.18CET

Early Ari opener sends Spartak through

Fenerbahçe SK 1-1 FC Spartak Moskva (agg: 2-3)
Despite Moussa Sow offering up a late scare, Ari's early goal ensured Spartak's group stage return.

An early goal from Brazilian striker Ari proved crucial as FC Spartak Mosvka saw off Fenerbahçe SK 3-2 on aggregate to progress to the group stage of the UEFA Champions League.

Despite dominating the second half at the Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium, Fenerbahçe were unable to add to Moussa Sow's 69th-minute strike, which briefly inspired hopes of a memorable comeback. As it was, Unai Emery's Spartak clung on to a 1-1 draw to record a narrow aggregate win.

Spartak started on the front foot and opened the scoring with a well-worked effort from Ari. The forward released Aiden McGeady on the right before sprinting into the box to meet the Irishman's smart cross, and beating the diving Mert Günok to the ball to poke home at the near post.

The goal initially failed to stir a subdued Fenerbahçe, who were dealt a further blow when Miloš Krasić limped off injured. With Dirk Kuyt dropping deep, Moussa Sow cut a frustrated figure in attack, starved of service. The hosts rallied after the interval, however. The Turkish side peppered the Spartak goal with shots from range, and Andriy Dykan had to be at his best to deny Mehmet Topal and Mehmet Topuz.

With time running out, Aykut Kocaman threw on Brazilian playmaker Alex, to immediate effect. His deep corner was met by Mehmet Topuz, whose goal-bound header was flicked into the roof of the net by Moussa Sow.

Fenerbahçe piled forward in search of the goal that would have taken the tie to extra time, but Spartak held firm despite being reduced to ten men when Demy de Zeeuw was shown a second yellow card.

The result was harsh on the hosts, but Spartak will not mind; they have an 11th UEFA Champions League group stage campaign to look forward to, while Fenerbahçe will look to have better luck in the UEFA Europa League.

Last updated: 09/12/12 3.35CET

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