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Season review: Azerbaijan

Published: Sunday 21 June 2015, 9.17CET
Qarabağ FK did the double as well as making an impact in Europe while Cavid Hüseynov and Joshgun Diniyev were the star players of the campaign.
by Oktay Atayev
from Baku
Season review: Azerbaijan
Qarabağ did the double in Azerbaijan ©Victoria Melnik

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Published: Sunday 21 June 2015, 9.17CET

Season review: Azerbaijan

Qarabağ FK did the double as well as making an impact in Europe while Cavid Hüseynov and Joshgun Diniyev were the star players of the campaign.

Champions: Qarabağ FK
No team in Azerbaijan could match Qarabağ for the second season running. Gurban Gurbanov's side – who came close to beating FC Internazionale Milano in the UEFA Europa League and progressing from Group F – are a balanced unit combining quality foreigners, led by Brazilian forward Reynaldo, with Azerbaijani internationals such as captain Rashad F Sadygov. Their task may have been easier due to the financial problems affecting several big clubs but according to Gurbanov "defending the title was harder than winning it for the first time". The coach added: "It was an exhausting season but we did well. Our players have become stronger and more experienced."

Cup final: Qarabağ FK 3-1 Neftçi PFK
The two most successful and popular teams in the country had different tasks in this final apart the obvious one. Qarabağ wanted a domestic double while Neftçi were intent on saving a disappointing campaign in which they came fourth in the Premier League. Reynaldo scored twice and set up the other goal as the league champions prevailed. "We wanted victory so much and did our best to get it but unfortunately we didn't win anything this year. That's football; now we have to rest and think about next season," said Neftçi captain Araz Abdullayev.

European places
Qarabağ FK – UEFA Champions League second qualifying round
İnter Bakı PİK – UEFA Europa League first qualifying round
Qäbälä FK – UEFA Europa League first qualifying round
Neftçi PFK – UEFA Europa League first qualifying round

Player of the year: Cavid Hüseynov (Qäbälä FK)*
The versatile midfielder was equally effective as a winger or a No10, regularly assisting his team-mates or scoring himself. He was third-placed Qäbälä's top marksman with 12 goals, though it is not this statistic that made him the best player of the 2014/15 – rather his character and leadership singled him out. "We started really badly but then we got back in contention thanks to Ukrainian coach Roman Grygorchuk and we won the bronze medal. In fact, we didn't lose a game in the last third of the season which helped us clinch a Europa League berth," said the 27-year-old Hüseynov.

* UEFA.com choice

One to watch: Joshgun Diniyev (İnter Bakı PİK)
Last term this 19-year-old midfielder was known only because his father was a former national team coach – however the İnter Bakı academy product made huge progress this season. The box-to-box runner has now decided to make a summer move to champions Qarabağ and will play in the upcoming UEFA Champions League qualifiers, having also made his international debut in the 7 June friendly with Serbia.

Leading scorer: Nurlan Novruzov (Bakı FK) – 15 goals

Relegated: Bakı FK, Araz-Naxçıvan PFK

Promoted: Zirä FK, Käpäz PFK

Last updated: 22/06/15 13.27CET

Related information

Team profiles

https://www.uefa.com/memberassociations/news/newsid=2255973.html#season+review+azerbaijan