Fenerbahçe SK and RSC Anderlecht agreed that class and experience ultimately told as the Turkish team won 2-0 in Belgium to secure progress to the UEFA Champions League group stage with a 3-0 aggregate triumph.
"We had that little bit of extra quality, more experience and good luck," said Fenerbahçe striker Mateja Kežman, who set up the win with a morale-sapping early goal. "The job was effectively done after just four minutes," he intoned. "After we took the lead we played on the counterattack as we have the defenders to do that. We secured an important result and hopefully we will now do well in the UEFA Champions League."
Defeat means Anderlecht must console themselves with a berth in the UEFA Cup first round, and coach Frank Vercauteren is looking forward to gaining some redemption. "We have to show ambition and ensure some success in that tournament," he said, though he must first pick his side up from a demoralising defeat that was compounded by a second goal from Alex in the second half. "Looking at the players faces in the dressing room I saw great disappointment - this is a heavy blow. But [Fenerbahçe] just had more efficiency, luck and quality and those things combined explain the result."
Fenerbahçe will hope to draw on those qualities again in the group stage, improving on their last performance in the UEFA Champions League two years ago when they shipped 14 goals in their six games, bowing out with four points. Zico has worked to strengthen the back line over the past 12 months, bringing in the likes of Roberto Carlos, and although the new defensive outlook does not necessarily suit Kežman's game the Serbian is happy to sacrifice personal glory for team success. "We do not play particularly attacking football so I score a little less than I could," he said. "I still pop up for the important goals though so I am very happy."
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