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Sadygov strikes as Azerbaijan beat Turkey

Azerbaijan 1-0 Turkey
Turkish-based Rashad F Sadygov struck in the 38th minute to give Azerbaijan a memorable victory in Baku and their first points in Group A.

Gökhan Gönül of Turkey (left) competes with Vugar Nadyrov of Azerbaijan
Gökhan Gönül of Turkey (left) competes with Vugar Nadyrov of Azerbaijan ©AFP

Azerbaijan captain Rashad F Sadygov struck the decisive goal as Berti Vogts's side produced a surprise win against Turkey.

Sadygov, who joined Turkish club Eskisehirspor in August, found the target after 38 minutes to give Azerbaijan their first points in UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying Group A and their maiden victory in eight meetings with their visitors. Turkey, also beaten 3-0 in Germany on Friday, are grateful for the two wins in September that are still keeping them in early contention.

Following Azerbaijan's own 3-0 loss in Austria on Friday, Vogts made tactical changes with Rail Melikov and Elnur Allahverdiyev reverting to the full-back slots. He also deployed three strikers in the shape of Vugar Nadyrov, Farid Guliyev and Vagif Dzhavadov. Azerbaijan started brightly and Dzhavadov was sent clear in the ninth minute but shot wide.

At the other end, Gökhan Gönül and Hamit Altıntop tested goalkeeper Kamran Agayev as Guus Hiddink's side began to take the initiative. Azerbaijan went ahead late in the half, though, Sadygov shooting in from the edge of the box following Mahir Shukurov's corner. Hiddink reacted after the break by introducing Nihat Kahveci and the new arrival swiftly came close on two occasions. Azerbaijan nearly had a second on 54 minutes, but Aleksandr Chertoganov – on for the injured Melikov – and Guliyev got in the way of each other's attempts.

The tension mounted as Turkey took the game to their hosts, who responded with quick counterattacks. In two such moves, Ruslan Abushev pounced on a rebound but missed the open target and Nadyrov scrambled the ball wide with only Volkan Demirel to beat. Turkey continued to press but to no avail and they will need to revive their campaign at home to Austria on 29 March, when Azerbaijan visit Belgium.