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Qarabağ FK Makes History: Advancing to UEFA Europa League Round of 16 for the First Time

By Timucin Turksoy February 23, 2024


Qarabağ FK players celebrate the first goal against Braga scored by Matheus Silva, Baku, Azerbaijan, February 22, 2024 / UEFA Europa League X account

In an exhilarating 120-minute showdown at the Tofig Bahramov Stadium in Baku on Thursday, Qarabağ FK achieved a historic victory, advancing to the round of 16 in the UEFA Europa League for the first time.

Despite a narrow 3-2 defeat to Portugal’s Braga on their home turf, the Azerbaijani champions secured their place in the 1/8 stage with an aggregate victory of 6-5. In the preceding week, Qarabağ FK had triumphed over Braga with a 4-2 win in the tie’s first game in Portugal.

The culmination of Thursday’s match was nothing short of dramatic, with Nariman Akhundzade scoring a decisive goal in the 122nd minute, solidifying Qarabağ’s status as the first Azerbaijani football club to advance so far in a European tournament.

Qarabağ FK was drawn against Germany’s Bayer Leverkusen in the round of 16, in a draw held in Zurich, Switzerland, on Friday. The first leg of the tie is scheduled to take place in Baku on March 7th, with Bayer Leverkusen hosting Qarabağ FK a week later.

Known as “The Stallions,” Qarabağ FK has participated in the UEFA Europa League group stages on multiple occasions. Their debut in the group stage of a European competition was during the 2014-15 season, marking a significant milestone for both the club and Azerbaijani football.

Since then, Qarabağ FK has consistently represented Azerbaijan in various European competitions, including the UEFA Champions League, the UEFA Europa League, and the UEFA Conference League.