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Azerbaijan rally to defeat Kazakhstan

Azerbaijan 3-2 Kazakhstan
Azerbaijan scored three goals in 15 second-half minutes to clinch victory and move four points clear of their opponents at the foot of Group A.

Rauf Aliyev celebrates scoring Azerbaijan's equaliser eight minutes into the second half
Rauf Aliyev celebrates scoring Azerbaijan's equaliser eight minutes into the second half ©Getty Images

Azerbaijan atoned for their 2-1 defeat in Astana in June, grappling their way to a 3-2 Group A win against Kazakhstan after an intriguing UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier in Baku.

Sergei Ostapenko's 20th-minute opener took the wind out of the home side's sails, but three goals in the space of 15 minutes from Rauf Aliyev, Mahir Shukurov and Vagif Javadov turned the game on its head. Substitute Vitali Yevstigneev halved the deficit with 13 minutes to go, but Berti Vogts' side were not to be denied a second qualifying victory.

While defender Agil Nabiyev was replaced within 13 minutes of kick-off, Azerbaijan had made a decent enough start but were caught cold when powerful FC Zhetysu Taldykorgan striker Ostapenko put a firm header past Kamran Agayev. The home side responded with a volley of long shots, with Javadov coming closest to Aleksandr Mokin's goal.

The arrival of Branimir Subašić at half-time gave the Azeris more bite, with a defensive lapse allowing 22-year-old Aliyev to steal in for his second international goal – and his second headed goal in as many games. Shukurov set Aliyev up, and was the next name on the scoresheet, finishing from the spot after Aliyev was fouled in the area.

Azerbaijan did not let up, and Javadov steamed in for a third after playing a stylish one-two with Subašić, finishing neatly into the corner. Yevstigneev struck with practically his first touch after coming on as a substitute, but there was to be no comeback, with defeat leaving Kazakhstan four points adrift of their opponents at the bottom of the section.