Azerbaijan picked up their first point of the UEFA EURO 2008™ qualifying campaign after being held to a frustrating draw in Group A by Kazakhstan.
The home side were on top for most of the game and were denied on numerous occasions by Kazakhstan goalkeeper David Loria. Loria was forced into early action to stop Leandro Gomes scoring, while opposite number Farkhad Veliyev was on hand to deny Andrei Karpovitch's goalbound header after eight minutes. Vagif Dzavadov then fired wide for Azerbaijan before Andre Ladaga finally secured the lead with 16 minutes gone as the midfielder curled in a free-kick after Maksim Zhalmagambetov had upended Dzavadov.
Ilgar Gurbanov almost doubled the hosts' advantage two minutes later but his long-range strike drifted the wrong side of the upright. This became a cause for regret on 36 minutes when Dmitriy Byakov equalised for Kazakhstan, heading Nikita Khokhlov's right-wing cross past Veliyev and into the bottom corner. The Azerbaijan No1 kept the scores level just before half-time with a stunning diving save from Ruslan Baltiev's long-distance drive. Loria also rescued his team in stoppage time, turning the lively Dzavadov's shot around the post.
Veliyev was next into action in the opening stages of the second half to keep out Khokhlov's right-footed effort. The home side maintained the pressure but failed to find the breakthrough. Dzavadov headed wide with 15 minutes remaining and Samir Musaev was frustrated by Loria in the closing minutes as the substitute tested the Kazakhstan keeper from inside the area.