Austria's hopes of qualifying for UEFA EURO 2012 may already be over but their new coach Marcel Koller, who takes over in November, will have been encouraged by his side's emphatic victory over opponents who were reduced to ten men after 27 minutes.
The visitors took full advantage of Saša Yunisoğlu's dismissal as Andreas Ivanschitz broke the deadlock before half-time. Marc Janko added a second-half double and Zlatko Junuzović completed the scoring in added time, after Vüqar Nadirov had reduced the arrears for the home side.
Having earned four matches from their two September outings, Berti Vogts's charges had hopes of finishing fourth in Group A, but they were seriously undermined after a promising start when Yunisoğlu received a straight red card for a foul on Janko. Ivanschitz, who had already rattled the crossbar on 18 minutes, was the first to capitalise on his side's superior numbers, sending a well-placed shot past Kamran Agayev within seven minutes of the defender's dismissal.
Vogts attempted to stem the Austrian flow by moving Vurgun Huseynov back into defence and bringing on Rahid Amirguliyev for the second half but there was no stopping the visitors, who dominated after the interval, Janko doubling the score after beating his marker and unleashing a precise shot on 52 minutes. The FC Twente striker scored again ten minutes later, after racing clear to beat Agayev, who made a series of impressive saves as his goal came under siege.
Azerbaijan did give their home supporters some reason for cheer on 74 minutes when substitute Nadirov beat Pascal Grünwald but there was still time for Austria's caretaker coach Willibald Ruttensteiner to be treated to a fourth goal when Junuzović made it 4-1 in added time. Fourth-placed Austria, who face Kazakhstan on Tuesday, move on to 11 points, with Azerbaijan four points further back ahead of their trip to Turkey.