Russia failed to finish off their 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying Group F campaign with a victory but the point in Baku nevertheless sealed their progress to next summer's finals in Brazil as section winners.
Knowing a draw was all that was required to ensure their place at the showpiece, Fabio Capello's men appeared to be taking no chances when captain Roman Shirokov struck 16 minutes in to give the visitors the lead. The result looked secure when Maksim Medvedev saw red for the hosts after the break, but Azerbaijan dug deep to snatch a late equaliser through Vagif Javadov. Even so, it was not enough to prevent Russia taking the group by a point from Portugal.
Both keepers were spectators early on as the two sides cancelled each other out in the centre of the field, and the opener came from the game's first real chance. Aleksandr Samedov unlocked the home defence with a precision pass which allowed Shirokov to go clear and finish expertly past Kamran Agayev.
Russia threatened a second shortly afterwards as Agayev's marginal fingertip save stopped Aleksei Kozlov's rising effort finding the roof of the net. Azerbaijan struggled to find an opening and their troubles continued after the interval; but for Aleksandr Kerzhakov's wayward finish on 55 minutes, they would have found themselves two down. Shirokov and Dmitri Kombarov also shot off target for Russia, yet their one-goal advantage seemed sufficient when Medvedev was dismissed in the 73rd minute.
Capello's men could not stretch their lead, however, and were punished in the last minute when Mahir Shukurov's free-kick was nodded in by substitute Javadov – though the result could not deny Russia their spot at the finals.