UEFA Europa Conference League - 2021/22 SeasonMatch press kits
|Qarabağ FK||Tofiq Bahramov Adina Respublika Stadionu - BakuThursday 21 October 2021|
18.45CET (20.45 local time) Group H - Matchday 3
|FC Kairat Almaty|
Azerbaijan meets Kazakhstan on Matchday 3 of the UEFA Europa Conference League as Qarabağ host Kairat Almaty in Baku hoping to end a long winless home run in European group stage encounters.
• Qarabağ have made a promising start to Group H, their opening 0-0 draw at home to Basel followed by a 4-1 comeback win in Cyprus against Omonoia featuring two fine goals from Brazilian midfielder Kady. Kairat, however, followed their opening stalemate at home to Omonoia with a 4-2 defeat in Switzerland that has left them three points off the pace.
• The teams have never met in UEFA competition, nor have either faced a club from their opponents' country.
• Although their seven-year reign as champions of Azerbaijan ended last season, a two-point deficit on Neftçi leaving them as runners-up, Qarabağ are appearing in a European group stage for the eighth season in a row – all under long-serving coach Gurban Gurbanov.
• Qarabağ came unbeaten through three UEFA Europa Conference League ties in the summer, beating Ashdod (0-0 h, 1-0 a), AEL Limassol (1-1 a, 1-0 h) and, in their eighth successful European play-off tie in a row, Aberdeen (1-0 h, 3-1 a). As in each of the past four seasons, Qarabağ are the only team from Azerbaijan still featuring in Europe during the autumn, though they have never extended their involvement into the spring.
• Although they are unbeaten and have not conceded a goal in their four European encounters in Baku this season, Qarabağ have won none of their last 14 home UEFA group games, losing nine, including two of the three that were moved to Istanbul last term. Their last home group win was 2-0 against PAOK on Matchday 3 of the 2016/17 UEFA Europa League.
• Champions of Kazakhstan in 2020 for the first time in 16 years, Kairat are appearing in UEFA competition for the eighth successive season. However, this is the club's first appearance in a group stage, their last six campaigns having all ended in the UEFA Europa League qualifying phase.
• Conquerors of Maccabi Haifa – the team that ended their European hopes last season – in the UEFA Champions League first qualifying round (1-1 a, 2-0 h), Kairat then lost to Crvena zvezda (2-1 h, 0-5 a), meaning a switch to the UEFA Europa League, where they fell in extra time to Armenian champions Alashkert (0-0 h, 2-3 a). However, a comprehensive UEFA Europa Conference League play-off win over Fola Esch (4-1 a, 3-1 h) booked their place in the competition's group stage.
• Kairat's victory in Luxembourg ended the club's five-match winless away sequence in UEFA competition (D1 L4). The defeat in Basel makes their all-time European away record W6 D3 L15.
Links and trivia
• Marko Vešović (Qarabağ) and Nebojša Kosović (Kairat) are team-mates for Montenegro.
• Croatians Filip Ozobić (Qarabağ) and Dino Mikanović (Kairat) played together briefly in their homeland for Hajduk Split in 2013.
• Qarabağ goalkeeper Emil Balayev faced Kairat four times domestically while playing in Kazakhstan for Tobol in 2019. He kept two clean sheets and in two other matches conceded goals to current Kairat players Yerkebulan Seidakhmet and Artur Shushenachev.
• Qarabağ's Richard Almeida helped Astana win the 2018 Kazakhstan Premier League, his team winning 3-2 in his sole game against Kairat.
• Kurban Berdyev was appointed as Kairat head coach on 24 August. The 69-year-old has experienced three UEFA Champions League group campaigns – two in charge of Rubin Kazan (2009/10, 2010/11) and one with Rostov (2016/17). He also led Rubin to the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals in 2012/13.
• Kairat are one of eight clubs making their debut appearance in a UEFA group stage this season; the others – one in each group – are Alashkert (Group A), Flora Tallinn (B), Bodø/Glimt (C), Randers (D), Union Berlin (E), Lincoln Red Imps (F) and Mura (G).