Fenerbahçe SK are looking forward to the UEFA Champions League knockout phase after making through the group stage at the fifth attempt, and their players are basking in the success, confirmed by a 3-1 defeat of PFC CSKA Moskva on Wednesday night.
Although Edu's own goal gave eliminated CSKA a 30th-minute lead, Alex swiftly equalised before Uğur Boral put Fenerbahçe ahead just before the break. The same player repeated the trick in second-half added time to ensure the Turkish champions ended Group G in second place, four points clear of PSV Eindhoven. "It's a great feeling," said midfielder Selçuk Şahin. "It's the first time we have achieved this in the club's history. Now if we can get further, it would be a truly great success." Goalkeeper Volkan Demirel added: "We were trying very hard to score first, but conceding a goal actually woke us up."
When the campaign began three months ago with a home tie against FC Internazionale Milano, Fenerbahçe looked outsiders to go through after a stuttering start to the domestic season. But they beat the Italian champions 1-0, and the victories have been coming thick and fast both in Europe and Turkey, Saturday's 2-0 defeat of Galatasaray AS leaving them within just three points of the Süper Lig lead.
"There is a momentum going," Kazım Kazım told uefa.com. "We were playing nice football but weren’t getting results away from home but now we’ve gelled as a group, are training well and getting results in the league and the Champions League. We were playing well and not getting results, now we can not play well and get results. And that's what counts in football - getting results when you don't play well."
Gökçek Vederson, whose usual place on the left of midfield went to two-goal hero Uğur Boral, was a substitute against CSKA to keep up his record of playing in all the group games, and he is not bothered by which club awaits Fenerbahçe after next Friday's draw. "Whoever we get in the next round, we will be able to deal with them," he said. "I am very confident in the team." And the Brazilian-born summer signing had words of praise for the man who started in his stead on Wednesday, saying: "Uğur doesn't play so regularly, but it is important for our team that he is on form."
©UEFA.com 1998-2016. All rights reserved.