By Erkin Ibragimov
FK Khazar Lenkoran were the form team in Azerbaijan in March, while FK Genclerbirliyi Sumgayit, FK Bakili and FK Adliyya opted for a change of coach.
Afgan Talibov quit struggling Bakili to be replaced by Ilgar Huseynov, while mid-table Genclerbirliyi brought in Frenchman Adel Amroush after Makhir Aliev's departure. Amroush wasted no time in cutting his playing staff with Veli Huseynov, Huseyngulu Guliev and Vadar Nuriev all leaving.
Meanwhile Nazim Aliyev, who succeeded Talibov as Adliyye coach just two months ago, stood down following a disagreement with club officials. Vagif Khidayatov has been named the relegation-threatened side's caretaker manager.
Karat sign Anguel
Changes were also made at FK Karvan Evlakh and FK Karat Baku with both sides reinforcing their forward lines. Karvan signed Ivory Coast striker Yacouba Bamba, while Moldovan Guennadi Anguel switched to Karat, and the pair immediately opened their scoring accounts.
Bamba registered in the 1-1 draw with PFK Turan Tovuz, while Anguel netted in a 3-1 win against FK MOIK and then scored the winner in a surprise 3-2 victory over title contenders FC Inter Baku on 19 March.
But it is Lenkoran who have been the team of the month, claiming maximum points without conceding a goal after a 5-0 win at Genclerbirliyi and a 3-0 home success against FK Geyazan Gazakh.
Top two stutter
They are now back in the championship race, eleven points behind leaders FK Karabakh, who were held 1-1 by Bakili, but with three games in hand. Nevertheless, Karabakh have a five-point advantage at the First Division summit after second-placed PFC Neftchi could only draw 2-2 at home to MTK Araz Imishli.
Bakili in danger
At the bottom, six teams are battling for survival after FK Shafa withdrew from the division for financial reasons during the winter break. Bakili also look set to drop as they are nine points from safety, while the final two relegation places should be contested between Geyazan, FK Shamkir, FK Shahdag Gusar, MOIK and Adliyye.
Meanwhile, the Azerbaijani Cup reached the semi-final stage with Araz, FK Baku, Inter and Lenkoran still in contention. Controversy surrounded the quarter-final between Inter and Neftchi, however, after referee Imanhan Sultani dismissed Neftchi's Ruslan Abbasov in the first minute and his side went on to lose on penalties.
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