Fenerbahçe SK reached the group stage of the UEFA Champions League with a fine victory in Brussels that meant RSC Anderlecht missed out on a place in the competition proper for the first time in five seasons.
Already leading 1-0 from the first leg of their third qualifying round tie in Istanbul a fortnight ago, Fenerbahçe ensured they would not fall at the same stage as last year thanks to goals from Serbian striker Mateja Kežman and Brazilian midfielder Alex which gave the Turkish champions a comfortable win against their Belgian counterparts.
Anderlecht went into the game knowing they needed goals and their task was made all the more difficult just three minutes in after the home team failed to clear a corner and the unmarked Kežman was allowed to finish from close range. The Belgian side now needed to score at least three times and the situation looked as though it was about to worsen still when Alex De Souza had the ball in the net again, only for the referee to give Anderlecht a reprieve following an earlier foul by Kežman.
The home side rallied and were twice unfortunate not to level matters on the night. On 25 minutes Mbark Boussafa's free-kick from just outside the area cannoned back off the crossbar, and seven minutes later Jelle Van Damme was dealt the same fate after connecting with a header. Anderlecht continued to press forward as the second half got under way, but without overworking the Fenerbahçe defence.
With 17 minutes to go the Turkish outfit then put the tie beyond doubt as Alex was presented with the ball following Nicolas Pareja's mistake, running on to seal the home team's fate. Fenerbahçe now await the UEFA Champions League draw on Thursday while Anderlecht must be content with a place in the UEFA Cup first round.