By Akbar Mammadov
Azerbaijan’s “Qarabag” football club will face Moldova's Sheriff in the second qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League on August 26.
The match will take place at 8:00 pm in Baku, at the Republic Stadium named after Tofig Bahramov.
Earlier, UEFA assigned the match to a team of referees from Kazakhstan, led by Furkat Atajanov, but later the game was assigned to a team of referees from Ukraine. The main referee Mykola Balakin will be assisted by Ukrainian Victor Matyash and Sergey Pristupa. The fourth referee will be Andrei Kovalenko.
It should be noted that so far Qarabag has faced Sheriff four times in European competitions. Two matches ended with Qarabag's victory, while Sheriff could win only one time, and one match was a draw. Overall, Qarabag scored five times in these matches, and Sheriff only two.
In the first qualifying round, Qarabag beat Sileks (Northern Macedonia) with four unanswered goals, and Sheriff defeated Luxembourg's Fola Ash with a score of 2:0.
Thus, if Qarabag beats Sheriff, in the next round, in the next round it will face one of these clubs: Celtic (Scotland), Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia), Ludogorets (Bulgaria), Young Boys (Switzerland) and Srvena Zvezda (Serbia).
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all the matches in both Champions League and Europa League are held in only one leg, therefore; the revenge will not be held.
Formed in 1987, Qarabag football club originates from Azerbaijan’s Armenian-occupied Agdam town that has turned into a “ghost town” due to the scale of its destruction during the war but has not played in its hometown since 1993 due to occupation. The club is now based in capital Baku.
Qarabag’s manager is Azerbaijani football player Gurban Gurbanov who has been managing the club since 2008. He is the most successful Azerbaijani football manager in the European competitions with 35 wins.
It should be noted that on May 2014, beating the Netherlands club Twente, Qarabag qualified for the 2014-2015 UEFA Europa League group stage for the first time in its history and became the second Azerbaijani team reaching the European competitions group stage. In 2017, Qarabag became the first Azerbaijani club to qualify for the group stages of the UEFA Champions League after beating Danish club Copenhagen and drew in the Group C alongside Chelsea, Atletico Madrid and Roma.
The crest on the club emblem is the symbol of the Karabakh, which was produced by English designers and based on the Karabakh horse and stems from the club's nickname "The Horsemen".
Akbar Mammadov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AkbarMammadov97
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