Fenerbahçe SK maintained their position at the top of UEFA Europa League Group H as goals from Brazilian trio André Santos, Bilica and Alex secured victory against FC Steaua Bucureşti.
A 1-0 win in Romania had taken Fenerbahçe to the section summit a fortnight ago and their ninth point from three games kept them two in front of second-placed FC Twente; Steaua are five adrift of qualification. Pantelis Kapetanos had sent Steaua in at half-time level after cancelling out André Santos's opener but Bilica and Alex found the target to leave Fenerbahçe within two points of the round of 32.
Steaua off mark
Kapetanos came close with a half-volley on 12 minutes but on the quarter-hour the home team were ahead, winger André Santos producing some stylish feints outside the box before a strong left-footed finish. Visiting goalkeeper Robinson Zapata, superb when these sides met last, did well to keep out efforts from Mehmet Topuz and Emre Belözoğlu and as the tempo dropped, Steaua equalised. Bănel Nicoliţă's accurate pass found Kapetanos, who made no mistake to register his side's first goal in the group.
The Turkish hosts picked up the pace after the break and six minutes into the second half it was 2-1, centre-back Bilica producing a fantastic header from Alex's free-kick to register Fenerbahçe's 200th goal in UEFA club competition. Steaua coach Mihai Stoichiţă brought on Dayro Moreno for Cristian Tănase in an attempt to change the game but Alex, an inspiration behind quite a few of Fenerbahçe's double century of strikes, ran forward from midfield and beat Zapata from 25 metres. To go through, winless Steaua must triumph at FC Sheriff on 2 December and beat Twente 15 days later – provided Dutch side also slip up at home to Fenerbahçe.