Turkish champions Fenerbahçe SK put their loss on the opening day of the league season behind them to defeat RSC Anderlecht 1-0 in the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round and gain a slight advantage going into the second leg.
Beaten by Istanbul BB SK last Friday, Fenerbahçe enjoyed a happier night as they edged their meeting with Anderlecht thanks to a solitary goal just after the half-hour by Alex. However, the Belgian title-holders will still be hopeful of turning things around in Brussels on 29 August.
Last season's Süper Lig top scorer, Alex, recovered from a groin injury to take his place in the home team's lineup where he was joined by debutant defender Lugano, following his late return from Copa América duties with Uruguay. They seemed to have a positive effect as Fenerbahçe dominated the early stages with Tümer Metin and Mateja Kežman both going close.
Mohamed Tchite could not find the target as Anderlecht missed a rare opportunity on eight minutes and Fenerbahçe, who were eliminated at this stage of last term's competition by FC Dynamo Kyiv, finally turned their superiority into a lead on 32 minutes. Made in Brazil, the goal was set up by Marco Aurélio's raid down the left before he crossed for Alex to power in a header.
The second half was a different affair with Anderlecht taking control and putting the hosts under pressure. The side from the Belgian capital, who had finished bottom of their group last time around, went close through Mbark Boussoufa on 52 minutes and then Jan Polák eleven minutes later, yet both found Fenerbahçe goalkeeper Serdar Kulbilge in top form. Anderlecht continued to rally but could not find a way through as the hosts held firm, yet with one goal separating the teams this tie is far from over.