Brazilian midfielder Alex was on target twice as Fenerbahçe SK opened their UEFA Champions League Group E account with an impressive victory over ten-man PSV Eindhoven at the Sükrü Saraçoglu stadium.
The slender Brazilian was superb throughout, and after a fractious first half, opened the scoring from the penalty spot five minutes before the break. Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink was booked in the incident leading up to the spot-kick and was soon dismissed after collecting a second yellow card. Alex doubled the lead midway through the second half, completing a flowing move in style, and was also involved in Fenerbahçe's third goal in added time, his back-heel allowing Stephen Appiah to cap a fine win for the Turkish champions.
The defeat will be a blow to PSV, who welcomed back several key players for the game, with Heurelho Gomes, Alex, André Ooijer and Ibrahim Afellay all returning. While Guus Hiddink received a timely boost, Fenerbahçe coach Christoph Daum was without the left-sided menace of Tuncay Şanli, so Márcio Nobre lined up alongside Nicolas Anelka in attack.
Instead, the onus of their attack switched to the right, and Serkan Balci was soon causing havoc with his ceaseless desire to take defenders on. Time and again, the final ball let the hosts down, however, and it was PSV who looked the more likely scorers as midfielders Appiah and Marco Aurélio slowly morphed into makeshift defenders.
The game adopted a pattern: Fenerbahçe passing the ball around and measuring their attack carefully; PSV gaining possession and looking to pounce on the break. And as the half wore on, it was the careful approach that began to pay dividends, Nobre firing an acrobatic shot over the crossbar just before the half-hour mark.
PSV had a chance of their own when DaMarcus Beasley's free-kick went narrowly wide on 37 minutes, but three minutes later, the visitors found themselves behind after Vennegoor of Hesselink handled in the area. The Netherlands forward was booked, and Alex stepped up to drive a clinical penalty into the top-right corner.
Selçuk Şahin almost made it two within two minutes, letting fly an effort into the side-netting, but PSV's relief was fleeting and Vennegoor of Hesselink received his marching orders for holding back Selçuk. The Istanbul outfit sustained the pressure at the start of the second half, with Selçuk's rasping drive forcing Gomes to save at full stretch.
Volkan Demirel was not anonymous in the Fenerbahçe goal either, and PSV matched the home side, Phillip Cocu attempting a similar long-range strike two minutes later which produced a good stop. Beasley then tested Volkan with an angled shot but the visitors' vim faded and Fenerbahçe strove to make their numerical advantage tell.
Sensing the kill, a predatory Anelka started to probe the space he was finding in the PSV rearguard with increased fervour. He collected a long pass from Alex on the left just before the hour mark, cut inside and struck a low effort centimetres past the far post. The Frenchman returned the compliment to Alex on 68 minutes, holding up the ball after a sensational through-pass from the Brazilian, and then crossing for his team-mate to head a wonderful second past Gomes.
No way back
Two goals and one man down, there was no way back for PSV, and Appiah's late third left the Dutch champions level with Fenerbahçe in second spot in Group E. Both are a point behind leaders AC Milan, who drew 2-2 with FC Schalke 04 in Gelsenkirchen.
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