By Nigar Orujova
Azerbaijan’s Qarabag football team defeated Belgium’s Anderlecht 1-0 at home in Baku on October 1.
This win sealed Qarabag’s first ever victory in an UEFA Europa League group stage.
Brazilian midfielder Richard Almeida scored the only goal of the game in the 36th minute as the Azerbaijani champions ended Anderlecht's six-game undefeated run over several competitions.
The win has allowed Azerbaijan to reach a record 3,875 points scored for the season. The previous record set last season was 3,625 points.
Over five seasons, Azerbaijan scored a total of 14,375 points, occupying the 26th place.
Head coach Gurban Gurbanov said, “Despite the win, the opponent was not weak. We have not played against such teams recently. Anderlecht is able to score on any team.”
Commenting of the victory, football player Dani Quintana stated, “In the first half we had the advantage. However, the second half was very hard. Since the opponent had increased the pressure to score goals. Nevertheless, we defended well and achieved the desired result. I am very happy to win.”
At present, Qarabag, which has not conceded a goal to the opposing team in their last five European home games, is second in Group J behind Tottenham.
The team is representing Azerbaijan at the UEFA Europa League for the second year in a row.
On September 17, Qarabag conceded to English club Tottenham in an away match. The bout in London ended with a 3:1 loss in favor of Tottenham.
The second Azerbaijani team to make it to the Europa League Group Stage, Gabala FK, lost 1:2 to Krasnodar in the second round of group stage matches on October 2.
Head coach Roman Grigorchuk said, “I realized that we can win. We played very well in attack. We did not get lost in the game. However, Smolov beat our defender one on one. He took advantage of his inexperience. At this point, the attacker has higher skills than the defender.”
Nigar Orujova is AzerNews’s staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @o_nigar
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