Sergei Gridin scored twice on his international debut as Kazakhstan beat Azerbaijan 2-1 in Astana to earn their first points in UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying Group A.
Azerbaijan started the better of the two sides but were unable to make their dominance count until Gridin tapped in Sergei Ostapenko's centre to give the hosts the lead 12 minutes after the break. However, their advantage did not last long, Vugar Nadyrov pulling Berti Vogts' side level two minutes after coming off the bench. Gridin was not to be denied, though, his sublime finish midway through the second half sealing the win for Kazakhstan.
Having failed to score or claim any points in qualifying so far, Kazakhstan started the game in understandably subdued fashion and it was the visitors who seemed more likely to break the deadlock. Rauf Aliyev was most guilty of failing to do so, wasting a fine one-on-one opportunity to ensure the sides went in level at the break.
Miroslav Beranek's Kazakhstan came out firing in the second half and were ahead on 57 minutes thanks to good play down the right by Ostapenko, whose cross was easily converted by Gridin.
Azerbaijan responded swiftly through Nadyrov but Kazakhstan maintained their belief. It paid off on 68 minutes when Marat Khairullin slid a delightful through ball to FC Tobol Kostanay forward Gridin, who finished assuredly with the outside of his left foot to move Kazakhstan level on points with their opponents at the bottom of the section.
©UEFA.com 1998-2017. All rights reserved.