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Azerbaijan off the bottom thanks to first win

Azerbaijan 1-0 Iceland
Ali Gokdemir struck four minutes before half-time to take Azerbaijan off the bottom of Group 8 courtesy of their first victory of the campaign.

Orkhan Hasanov of Azerbaijan chases a loose ball with Iceland's Asgeir Thor Magnússon
Orkhan Hasanov of Azerbaijan chases a loose ball with Iceland's Asgeir Thor Magnússon ©AFFA

Azerbaijan beat Iceland 1-0 in Baku to record their first win in UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying and move off the foot of Group 8.

Bernhard Lippert's side had only one point to their name prior to Wednesday's fixture, but moved above their opponents and into fourth in the section thanks to Ali Gokdemir's effort four minutes before half-time.

There was a scarcity of clear-cut opportunities prior to that goal, with Dofri Snorrason and Jón Dadi Bödvarsson going closest for the visitors. Hitherto unthreatening as an attacking force themselves, Azerbaijan then broke the deadlock when Gokdemir finished emphatically from a free-kick.

Tómas Tómasson's charges went within a whisker of restoring parity just before the hour, Thórarinn Valdimarsson latching on to Bödvarsson's pass only to be thwarted by Salahat Aghayev. The hosts steadied the ship as the second half progressed and nearly doubled their advantage when substitute Abdulla Abasiyev struck a post, but were ultimately left grateful that Iceland's Björn Sverrisson was also denied by the woodwork late on.

Next up for Azerbaijan is a trip to Norway on 1 June, while Iceland's sixth assignment of their campaign is the return of this fixture on home soil four days later.