By Erkin Ibragimov
The last month has proved fruitful for FK Karabakh, as three straight wins took them to the top of the Azerbaijani first division.
After defeating FK Shamkir 2-1, they went on to beat FK Genclerbirliyi Sumgayit 2-0 and FK Geyazan Gazakh 4-2 - the third game yielding a hat-trick for Samir Musayev. Karabakh duly found themselves at the top of the table, with 15 points from a possible 18, as MTK Araz Imishli and PFC Neftchi both slipped up.
Reigning champions Neftchi stumbled as they fell to their first defeat of the season at FK Baku, South Americans Fernando Perez and Leandro Gomes scoring in a 2-0 victory. The progress of newly promoted Araz was also checked as they lost their place at the top of the table after being held 1-1 by FK Karat Baku, Samir Samedov equalizing for Karat. Still, Araz remain only a point behind the leaders, whom they visit in their first match after the international break on 20 October.
It has been a mixed month for FK Karvan Evlakh, who boast the Azerbaijani First Division's leading goalscorer in Zaur Ramazanov. He has six goals to his name so far - three more than Azeri internationals Gurban Gurbanov, Samir Aliyev and Nadir Nabiyev. His team sit third in the table after holding Nefchi to a 1-1 draw, defeating FK Kapaz Ganja, but then losing against FK Khazar Sumgayit.
FC Inter Baku have impressed so far, losing just once in six matches, while teams hoping to improve in the coming weeks include bottom club FK Shafa - who are yet to pick up a point - and newcomers FK Geyazan Gazakh. They are just one point better off and only claimed their first goals of the season in losing 4-2 to Karabakh on 26 September - a penalty and an own goal.
Finally, delegates from FIFA and UEFA were present in Baku for the national team's FIFA World Cup qualifier against England on 14 October, a match which ended in a 1-0 defeat. The delegates attended the opening of a mini-pitch provided by UEFA's HatTrick scheme, and also the unveiling of a statue of Tofik Bakhramov, the country's celebrated assistant referee at the 1966 FIFA World Cup final.
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