Fenerbahçe SK produced a dominant display to open their UEFA Champions League Group G campaign with a well-earned win against FC Internazionale Milano.
Key to the game were the performances of Alex and Deivid, the pair combining for the decisive goal before the break with Deivid firing in an acrobatic shot. Inter may have been depleted at the back but Fenerbahçe's showing could well have been enough to overcome the full-strength Italian title-holders.
Inter pressed back
Self-confessed underdogs Fenerbahçe may have been, but they were keen to test a reshuffled Inter defence in which Colombian summer signing Nelson Rivas made his debut due to the absences of the suspended Nicolás Burdisso, Maicon and Iván Córdoba, and of injured duo Marco Materazzi and Cristian Chivu. Júlio César made an important early save to tip over Mehmet Aurélio's header from an Alex cross, before Mateja Kežman only just failed to connect with an incisive ball by Deivid.
Inter were not without their dangerous moments and Önder Turacı had to be alert to intercept as David Suazo cut back from the byline with the looming Zlatan Ibrahimović waiting to pounce. Still Fenerbahçe were in positive mood and Gökçek Vederson, starting on the left for the injured Tümer Metin, let fly from distance while Alex and Deivid thrived in free roles behind Kežman. Each of the Brazilian duo had good chances, Deivid in particular testing Júlio César with a stinging shot.
Volkan Demirel did have some work to do in the home goal, though, as he dived to get in the way of Suazo's effort following a quick team move. But there was no doubt that Fenerbahçe's breakthrough just before the interval was deserved. Alex tricked his way to the byline and his looped cross was superbly volleyed in with ferocity by Deivid.
Fenerbahçe defender Roberto Carlos was putting in a solid display against his old club and early in the second half he applied his trusty left foot to a free-kick that Júlio César scrambled away. Alex and Kežman then supplied the left-back inside the box and the strength of the No3's shot was shown by how far the ball deflected back off the post.
His former Real Madrid CF team-mate Luís Figo was brought on for Inter and immediately delivered a free-kick that had the Turkish champions worried. Fenerbahçe continued to press, however, and Edu so nearly turned in a curling Alex set-piece. Although Júlio César did not have to save that effort, he did brilliantly to keep out Alex's diving header.
So confident were Zico's charges at this point that they seemed to switch almost to a more attacking formation with Roberto Carlos operating as a winger. Alex, yet again, came close to setting up a second goal as yet another free-kick was nodded over the bar by Lugano. But the home side had already done enough for a welcome, if unexpected, three points.