|I||Sparta Praha||19:00||H. Kiryat Shmona|
Fenerbahçe SK had to wait until 18 minutes from time to see off the challenge of AEL Limassol FC.
The Cypriot champions, perhaps invigorated by the appointment of Jorge Costa as coach this week, performed with admirable discipline but ran out of steam in the second half and lost out to Egemen Korkmaz's header. Fenerbahçe are now three points clear atop Group C, with AEL bottom.
In search of their 100th UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League goal, Fenerbahçe started in inventive fashion when Dirk Kuyt flicked the ball up and volleyed only narrowly wide. Their creative juices dried up for long periods thereafter, though, with AEL doing a fine job of stifling the visitors.
The home side grew in confidence as a result and had two chances of their own before half-time. Both fell to Rui Miguel, the first skidding wide via a deflection and the second requiring Volkan Demirel to be on his guard.
AEL's slippery No10 picked up from where he left off after the interval, controlling superbly on the stretch after surging through the heart of Fenerbahçe's defence, only to shoot straight at Volkan. Not to be outdone, Kuyt went close himself on the hour but fired a whisker wide.
Though that marked a turning of the tide, Aykut Kocaman's team remained frustrated in the final third, Moussa Sow particularly perturbed at not getting the rub of the green. The Yellow Canaries tried passing through the middle, crossing from wide and shooting from range, until finally striking gold in simple fashion. Cristian flighted in a corner from the right which Egemen greeted with perfect timing and an emphatic header.
The same combination, this time from the left, nearly repeated the trick moments later, but a solitary goal proved sufficient despite late openings for Monteiro and Dosa Júnior.
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