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Fernandão downs Ajax as Fenerbahçe leave it late

Fenerbahçe 1-0 Ajax
Super sub Fernandão's last-gasp header downed Ajax's young side to send the Yellow Canaries into second place in UEFA Europa League Group A.

Fernandão after scoring Fenerbahçe's winner
Fernandão after scoring Fenerbahçe's winner ©Getty Images
  • Late header from Fernandão wins it for the hosts
  • Brazilian scores his third goal in Group A – all as a sub
  • Ajax drop to third in section
  • Visitors suffer first defeat against Turkish opposition in Europe
  • Teams meet again at the Amsterdam ArenA on 5 November

A late header by substitute Fernandão propelled Fenerbahçe to a crucial Group A win over Ajax, their first victory in the UEFA Europa League group stage this season.

Coming on to replace Robin van Persie on 72 minutes, Fernandão showcased his aerial prowess to power the ball past the outstanding Jasper Cillessen with one minute of regulation time remaining.

The hosts started the game at a breakneck tempo, and their first real chance came on 11 minutes as Cillessen showed superb reflexes to stop close-range efforts from Diego and Van Persie in quick succession. Cillessen denied his Netherlands team-mate Van Persie again on 32 minutes, palming away a ferocious low strike to looks of disbelief around the stadium.

Fenerbahçe continued to push forward in the second half, but were largely kept in check by a committed Ajax defence. The visitors were largely content to sit back and hit their opponents on the counter, with their first shot on target coming on 62 minutes – a Riechedly Bazoer drive from distance.

On 67 minutes Fenerbahçe thought they had scored only to see Lasse Schöne clear a Souza header off the line, and increasingly it appeared as if Frank de Boer's side would hold on for a well-deserved draw.

The home side celebrate their winner
The home side celebrate their winner©Getty Images

Enter Fernandão, who also notched a brace to salvage a point at Celtic in the previous matchday, to plunder the decisive goal and send Fenerbahçe into second place in a now wide-open group.

Surprise selection
With a big domestic derby against Galatasaray on Sunday, many expected the hosts to rest players, but Vítor Pereira fielded arguably his strongest side, deploying Van Persie up front with Lazar Marković, Nani and Diego behind, as well as the experienced and attack-minded wing-backs Caner Erkin and Gökhan Gönül.

Brave young Ajax
Ajax's youthful lineup matched their opponents blow for blow and it needed a last-minute intervention from Fenerbahçe's super sub to divide the two teams.

©Getty Images

©Getty Images

©Getty Images

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