By Abdul Kerimkhanov
Azerbaijan’s Qarabag FC has achieved its historical 100th victory in European cups.
The team has played its first match of 2019-20 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round in Nicosia, Cyprus, against APOEL FC.
In the first half, none of the teams could score a goal. On the 53rd minute, Qarabag’s Mahir Emreli received the ball from Romero Jaime, went forward and confidently shot in APOEL’s net.
Enraged by the missed goal, the home team rushed forward to recoup; however, all attempts to score were unsuccessful. In the middle of the second half, Qarabag’s Abdellah Zoubir tricked APOEL's defenders and gave a pass to Magaye Gueye, who scored in the empty net.
However, in the end of the match, APOEL was awarded with a goal for its efforts. Tomas De Vincenti delivered a corner to the center of the penalty area, Giorgos Merkis jumped out and successfully sent the ball in the right corner of Qarabag’s net.
Thus, Qarabag FC has got a very important victory in Nicosia – 2:1. Now, Gurban Gurbanov’s team will have a solid advantage in the return match.
The victory gained in Cyprus gives Qarabag FC excellent chances to qualify for the UEFA Champions League play-off.
The return match will be held at Tofiq Bahramov Republican Stadium in Baku on August 13.
In the 2017-2018 season, Qarabag FC opened a new page in the history of Azerbaijani football by reaching the group stage of the UEFA Champions League.
The club is named after Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh region, which has been kept under Armenian occupation for over two decades.
Qarabag FC is among few clubs worldwide with refugee status. After the occupation of Agdam in 1993, the team was compelled to leave its hometown and settled in different cities. Today Qarabag FC plays home matches in Baku.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
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