Azerbaijan deny Malta rare victory

Malta 2-2 Azerbaijan Despite dominating possession throughout, the visitors had to battle back from behind to claim a draw against hardworking Malta.

Watch the highlights from Valletta as two goals from Rahid Amirguliyev helped earn Azerbaijan a draw against Malta.
  • Rahid Amirguliyev scores twice for Azerbaijan
  • Michael Mifsud claims 40th goal of his international career
  • Alfred Effiong puts Malta into lead in 71st minute
  • Honours even in Malta's 100th UEFA European Championship outing
  • Next games: Azerbaijan v Italy, Norway v Malta (10 October)

Rahid Amirguliyev scored twice as Azerbaijan claimed a UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying draw against Malta, who remain bottom of Group H.

Azerbaijan were the more effective side throughout the first half, enjoying 67% of possession before the break and took the lead in the 36th minute as a blocked Dmitri Nazarov snapshot fell to Amirguliyev, whose strike took a deflection to wrong-foot Andrew Hogg in the Malta goal.

The guests continued to enjoy the lion's share of possession following the restart, but Malta were looking dangerous on the break and regained parity in the 55th minute thanks to a superb finish from captain Michael Mifsud – the 40th goal of his international career – following good work from André Schembri.

Alfred Effiong holds off Arif Dashdemirov
Alfred Effiong holds off Arif Dashdemirov©Domenic Aquilina

The visitors almost hit back in the 64th minute through Ruslan Gurbanov, only for Hogg to parry his close-range effort onto the bar, and seven minutes later it was Malta who took the lead through Alfred Effiong, who latched onto a Schembri pass before powering the ball past Kamran Agayev.

However, Azerbaijan refused to panic and in the 80th minute Amirguliyev scored his second of the night – a well-placed low drive from just outside the box – to level the scores and earn his team a share of the points.