Two goals in three first-half minutes took Fenerbahçe SK within sight of a first-ever place in the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds as they moved four points clear of PSV Eindhoven in Group G.
Kazım Kazım's shot was turned into his own net by PSV defender Dirk Marcellis on 28 minutes, and Semih Şentürk swiftly finished off a fine move to seriously dent the hopes of their Dutch rivals. A win at FC Internazionale Milano or at home to PFC CSKA Moskva would be enough for second-placed Fenerbahçe to banish memories of four group-stage exits.
The Fenerbahçe fans relished their noisy pre-match warm-up, and the home players were suitably inspired as they started the brighter, hoping for a repeat of the performance which defeated Inter on Matchday 1. However, PSV caretaker coach Jan Wouters had stated that his team's first task was to silence the crowd, and they were certainly blunting Fenerbahçe's forward forays. Roberto Carlos waited 23 minutes to take a free-kick, but when he did his low effort zipped just past the post.
All of PSV's good work was undone in a two-minute spell leading up to the half-hour, however. First, Semih and Alex worked the ball right to Kazım Kazım, and the English-born forward's shot from the corner of the penalty area deflected in off Marcellis. The celebrations went up a notch two minutes later as a fine exchange of passes with Alex set up Semih to break into the box and shoot past Heurelho Gomes.
It was a fine reward for considerable toil by the striker, leading the line in the absence of Fenerbahçe's star man of the campaign so far, Deivid, suspended along with Lugano and PSV's Eric Addo following the goalless draw in Eindhoven a fortnight ago. Still the attacks came as Alex chipped centimetres over, although at the other end Timmy Simons was first to a free-kick and forced Volkan Demirel to save.
More of the same
Wouters sent on Mike Zonneveld for Jan Kromkamp at half-time in a defensive reshuffle, yet Fenerbahçe were not about to give up the initiative. After a one-touch passing move akin to those that had made the first two goals, Kazım Kazım produced another fine angled effort that Gomes was able to parry, and the goalkeeper then smothered Mehmet Aurélio's follow-up.
Alex, as always, was the fulcrum of Fenerbahçe's attacking play and a curling free-kick soon after the hour drew another stop from Gomes. PSV, with Danny Koevermans now added to their front line, were not giving up, but nor were they really troubling the home defence. Semih's menace had not diminished, though, demanding a flying Gomes save; and from the resulting corner, Alex nodded over.
Finally a Gökçek Vederson attempt flew past the far post, but Fenerbahçe's job was done. The two previous occasions PSV had come to Fenerbahçe in the European Champion Clubs' Cup, the Istanbul outfit had won but had not gone through. On this evidence, that could be another run coming to an end.