By Abdul Kerimkhanov
Azerbaijan`s Qarabag FC won a 4-1 victory over Luxembourg’s F91 Dudelange in UEFA Europa League group stage on October 3.
Qarabag is a football club from Azerbaijan’s Aghdam city that was destroyed and occupied by Armenian forces during the Karabakh (Qarabağ) War in July 1993.
Qarabag FC opened the score in the 11th minute of the match with Abdellah Zoubir’s goal. Half an hour into the start of the match, the Azerbaijani team doubled their lead after Michel scored a header.
After Azerbaijani team scored its second goal, the game was disrupted for 15-20 minutes due to provocation. Armenians filed a drone over the ground that was carrying the flag of the separatist regime set up in Azerbaijan’s occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Right after the incident, Luxembourg Sports Minister Dan Kersch spoke to the microphone to apologize on behalf of the Luxembourg government for the political provocation that took place in the field, adding that those staging provocation were not linked to Dudelange. The game resumed a few minutes later after Kersch's speech.
After resumption of the match, Qarabag’s Richard Almeida scored from the penalty spot (0-3).
In the second half, the teams scored two more goals (Dany Quintana for Qarabag and Antoine Bernier for Dudelange).
Thus, Qarabag won 4-1, which allowed the Azerbaijani team to secure second place in group A.
It is noteworthy that FC Ararat-Armenia lost to Dudelange on penalties during the UEL qualification playoffs on the same field earlier and was left outside of the UEL group stage.
Meanwhile, head coach of Qarabag Gurban Gurbanov said that it was not the first time that Armenians staged provocation in sports.
"As Azerbaijanis, Karabakhi people, we always try to show our culture, wherever we are and we always try to act human. Defeats do happen but such provocation is just cowardice. I am proud that I am an Azerbaijani who trains Qarabag FC and that I have such a team.
“We must not succumb to such provocations. The game was suspended for 15-20 minutes. However, we tried to show our professionalism to the maximum level, to enter the field and maintain game discipline on the field. The guys were upset, angry in the locker room and it was hard for them to start the match again. But in any case, I am grateful to my players for listening to me and proving that they are the real winners on the field. Now we are returning with a beautiful victory. Probably, such provocation will repeat in the future. I think doing this [provocation] every time is very cheap,” Gurbanov stressed.
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. Today Qarabag FC plays home matches in Baku.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz