Azerbaijan recorded the most famous victory in their history after they scored two late goals to defeat Serbia and Montenegro 2-1 in UEFA EURO 2004™ qualifying Group 9.
Ismaylov the hero
Second-half substitute Farrukh Ismaylov was the hero for the home side, scoring the winning goal in added time after Gurban Gurvanov had levelled Branko Boskovic's first-half effort for the visitors. The win lifted Azerbaijan off the foot of the table, temporarily at least, and they now have four points from five matches, a point less than Serbia and Montenegro who have only played four games.
Food for thought
Those two goals in the final four minutes were certainly too much for visiting coach Dejan Savicevic, who resigned after the game, while Sinisa Mihajlovic, Zoran Mirkovic and Predrag Mijatovic all announced their international retirements. Asgar Abdullayev's Azerbaijan team caused a stir in February when they came from two goals down against Serbia and Montenegro to draw 2-2 in Podgorica, thanks to two goals from Gurbanov.
They fell behind again after 28 minutes of the return at the Shafa stadium when FK Crvena Zvezda forward Boskovic broke the deadlock, firing hopes that the Serbo-Montenegrins could close the gap on group leaders Wales to four points. A win would also have taken the visitors above Italy, if only temporarily, but more importantly it would have helped erase the memory of Saturday's 3-0 reverse in Finland.
Savicevic was without key defender Sinisa Mihajlovic, who was suspended following his red card against the Finns, but his team-mates looked to be in control going into the final stages of the game as they protected their lead. It began to go horribly wrong when, with four minutes of normal time remaining, Azerbaijan were awarded a penalty and Gurbanov stepped up to beat goalkeeper Dragoslav Jevric.
This gave the home team new impetus and in the first minute of added time, substitute Ismaylov beat Jevric again to seal a historic victory for the European minnows, their first in the group, and leave Serbia and Montenegro facing elimination. Indeed, Azerbaijan's only previous UEFA European Championship win had come on 5 June 1999, a 4-0 triumph against Liechtenstein.
'For the whole nation'
Speaking after the match, Ismaylov said: "
This is a win for the whole nation and we proved that our draw in the first game was not by accident. We will do our best to give our fans the same pleasure again against Finland. I would like to thank our fans who supported us the whole 90 minutes."