Gömrükçü Baku edged into the UEFA Women's Cup quarter-final after a thrilling Group 2 contest which went to the wire.
The Azerbaijani champions had departed at the group stage of their tournament debut last year, but they set their stall out straight away this time around with an opening 5-1 win against Switzerland's FC Schwerzenbach.
It took only six minutes for Dialara Djafarova to open the scoring, but the Swiss were level on half-time through Daniela Soltermann. Moments into the second period, though, Ekaterina Sochneva restored the lead and added further goals in the 87th and 88th minutes for a hat-trick that was added to in added time by Yuliya Larionova.
In the other opener, AE Aegina won 3-2 against Belarussian group hosts FC Bobruichanka. The Greek side saw a 2-0 half-time lead cancelled out by Bobruichanka goals, and only Konstantina Katsaiti's 68th-minute penalty finally settled the game in Aegina's favour. Bobruichanka were back on form in the next game, though, as Zoya Malinouskaya scored ten minutes from the end to give them a 1-0 win.
The real fireworks were in the other game, though, as Aegina moved to the top of the group with a 4-4 draw - in a game where Schwerzenbach went 2-0 ahead, were pegged back to 2-2 at the break and fell behind 4-2, only for Sylvia Hügli to score on 76 and 90 minutes to equalise.
Draw ends Bobruichanka hopes
Schwerzenbach were now out, but their final act was to end the hopes of the hosts with a 1-1 draw. Hügli continued her good form with a 38th-minute goal, and although Volha Aniskoutsava levelled nine minutes after the break, Bobruichanka could not produce the winner that would have taken them through had Baku beat Aegina in the simultaneous game.
Aegina themselves only needed a draw to guarantee progress whatever the other result, but Baku had both to win and hope Bobruichanka could not. As the hosts drew, Baku's 3-0 victory was enough to progress.
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