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Neftçi fight back to ease past Zestafoni

FC Zestafoni 2-2 Neftçi PFK (agg: 2-5)
Neftçi came back from 2-0 down in Georgia to earn a draw which comfortably secured a debut place in the third qualifying round.

Julius Wobay scored in both legs of Neftçi's victory against Zestafoni
Julius Wobay scored in both legs of Neftçi's victory against Zestafoni ©Victoria Melnik

Neftçi PFK earned a 2-2 draw at FC Zestafoni to reach the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round for the first time.

Three down after the first leg, Zestafoni gave themselves hope with two goals inside the opening 20 minutes. However, Julius Wobay, a scorer when the teams met last week, quickly extinguished such optimism before Rashad A. Sadygov hit a second-half penalty to put the tie beyond doubt.

The hosts were rewarded for their early positivity when David Mujiri scored on 16 minutes from Abayomi Seun's lay-off. It took just three minutes for Zestafoni to double their lead, Mujiri turning provider with a neat back-heel to set up Jaba Dvali.

The advantage did not last long, though, as midway through the first period Wobay converted Bruno Berucci's left-wing cross for his second goal of the tie. The Azerbaijani side all but secured their progress six minutes into the second period when Sadygov equalised from the penalty spot after Teimuraz Gongadze felled Cavid Imamverdiyev.

The draw sealed a 5-2 aggregate win and earned Neftçi a tie against Hapoel Kiryat Shmona FC in the next round.

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