Qarabağ deny Neftçi cup hat-trick in Azerbaijan

Two goals from Reynaldo helped league champions Qarabağ FK to a 3-1 victory over Neftçi PFK in the Azerbaijani Cup final, their first triumph in the competition since 2009.

Qarabağ celebrate one of their three cup final goals
Qarabağ celebrate one of their three cup final goals ©Viktoriya Melnik

Reynaldo scored twice and set up the other goal as Qarabağ FK completed the domestic double by defeating Neftçi PFK 3-1 in the Azerbaijani Cup final.

The expected tight encounter between the former UEFA Europa League group stage participants did not transpire in Gabala. Reynaldo put the champions ahead in the fifth minute with a free-kick that left Neftçi keeper Agil Mammadov stranded. The Brazilian midfielder struck again before the break, after which the Horsemen squandered a number of chances to increase their lead.

It appeared that their profligacy might prove costly when an error from Qarabağ No1 Ibrahim Šehić allowed substitute Ernest Nfor to reduce the holders' arrears with a little under a quarter of an hour remaining. However, Muarem Muarem, teed up by Reynaldo, put the result beyond doubt five minutes from time and in the process ended Neftçi's hopes of winning the competition for the third successive season.

Qarabağ coach Gurban Gurbanov said: "That was a deserved victory. The game, like the season, was a difficult one."