By Nigar Orujova
Two Azerbaijani football teams, Qarabag and Qabala, entered the UEFA Europa League group stage in return matches on August 27.
Azerbaijan’s FC Qarabag reached the group stage after thrashing Switzerland’s Young Boys 3-0 in Baku.
Richard Almeida scored on a penalty in the fifth minute, while a second strong goal came from Reynaldo dos Santos Silva in the 43rd minute of the match.
Qarabag Midfielder Afran Ismayilov, who also plays on the Azerbaijani national team, kicked the final fatal blow in the 62nd minute.
Qarabag had defeated Young Boys 1-0 once before in Bern.
Qarabag team captain and Azerbaijani national team member Rashad Sadigov congratulated everyone with this victory, “which we all deserve.”
“I'm proud of the guys. They played as they should. We played our own game, did not sit in the defense and won a landslide victory,” the captain stressed.
Moreover, Azerbaijan’s Qabala has also secured a spot in the group stage of the UEFA Europa League after a 2-2 draw with Greece’s Panathinaikos in Athens.
In Greece, Dodo’s two goals in the 6th and 60th minutes allowed the Azerbaijani side to press through.
Qabala is one of two European clubs that have managed to get into the group stage of European cup this season, starting from the first qualification round. Besides Qabala, only Norwegian Rosenborg has managed to successfully complete all four rounds.
Qabala head coach Roman Grigorchuk said, “We have prepared well for the game. Scoring the first goal, we have moved into position early. This created conditions for the Greek team to play more aggressively, rush into attack and score.”
Grigorchuk went on to add that the team has a minimum of 6 matches in the European League. “But do not forget about the Championship and the Azerbaijan Cup. We need to tune in to all the games.”
The teams will be paid for this result by UEFA. Thus, Qabala will receive 1,840 million euro. The total award of Qarabag will be 1,750 million euro.
Nigar Orujova is AzerNews’s staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @o_nigar
Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz