Fenerbahçe, or the Yellow Canaries, crushed mediocre Romanian side Vaslui 4-1 away in their UEFA Champions League third round, second leg qualifying match at Ceahlaul Stadium on Wednesday night.
The result means the Canaries advance to the next stage of the competition 5-2 on aggregate, having forced a 1-1 draw in the first leg in İstanbul on Thursday.
Fenerbahçe needed victory by any margin or a draw by more than a 1-1 score to advance. But the Canaries proved to Vaslui that they were the superior side by banging in four beautiful goals and conceding only one.
The writing was already on the wall after just 12 minutes when Turkey winger Caner Erkin headed home a Gökhan Gönül cross to give the Canaries a 1-0 lead.
But Bucharest-born center-forward Marius Constantin Niculae stunned Fenerbahçe -- against the run of play -- two minutes later when he scored for Vaslui from close range to make the score 1-1.
There were no other goals in the first half; however, the Canaries reigned supreme in the second and upped the tempo. Vaslui resisted and resisted gravity but collapsed like a house of cards in the 53rd after Cameroon player Ousmane N’Doye’s penalty was saved by Fener keeper Volkan Demirel.
Fener runs riot in second half
The Romanian host thereafter left gaping holes in midfield and defense and the stronger Canaries moved into the vacuum and got their second goal through new Dutch signing Dirk Kuyt in the 71st minute. The Dutchman, capitalizing on a pass from defensive midfielder Gökhan, made no mistake while putting the ball into the back of the net.
Kuyt scored his second goal and the third for his team five minutes later (in the 76th) when he reconnected a free kick taken by captain and playmaker Alex de Souza into the Vaslui net to mark the score 3-1.
Senegal striker Moussa Sow, who came in as a replacement for Kuyt in the 86th, sealed the deal with a cracker of a shot in the first minute of added time (91st). And the final score was: Vaslui 1, Fenerbahçe 4.
“In the final analysis the result showed what being a great team means,” Fenerbahçe coach Aykut Kocaman said. “We needed to score and win [against Vaslui] and we did exactly that,” he added.
Wednesday’s resounding victory put the Canaries in the playoffs of the Champions League and also boosted their morale ahead of the TFF Super Cup clash against archrival Galatasaray in Erzurum on Sunday.