Qarabağ FK

Last updated on 17 November 2017

Qarabağ Futbol Klubu, commonly known as Qarabağ [ɡɑɾɑbɑɟ] is an Azerbaijani football club playing in the Azerbaijan Premier League. The club originates from Agdam, ruined and abandoned since 1993 due to the Nagorno-Karabakh war, and is now based in Baku, the capital.

Formed in 1951, Qarabağ were founding members of the Azerbaijan Premier League in 1992. One season later, they won their first league championship, becoming the first non-Baku-based club to win the Premier League title. Qarabağ is one of the two teams in Azerbaijan, along with Neftçi PFK which has participated in all Premier League championships so far.

Qarabağ plays its matches at the Azersun Arena and Tofiq Bahramov Stadium in Baku, which also serves as the venue for Azerbaijan national team matches.

In 2014, the club won the Premier League, their first league title in 21 years.[2] Qarabağ have won the Premier league five times and Azerbaijan Cup six times.[3] Qarabağ became the second Azerbaijani team to advance to the group stage of a European competition, making its first of three consecutive seasons in the UEFA Europa League group stages in 2014–15. Qarabağ is the first Azerbaijani team to advance to the group stage of the higher UEFA Champions League, competing in the 2017–18 season.[4]

Qarabağ
Qarabag,logo,2016.png
Full name Qarabağ Futbol Klubu
Nickname(s) Atlılar (The Horsemen)[1]
Short name QRB
Founded 1951 (1951)
(as Məhsul)
Ground Azersun Arena, Tofig Bahramov Stadium
Ground Capacity 5,800, 31,200
President Tahir Gözəl
Manager Gurban Gurbanov
League Azerbaijan Premier League
2016–17 1st
Website Club website

History

Early years (1951–1991)

The club was founded in 1951 as Qarabağ after the Aghdam city stadium was built; there then began a serious effort towards the creation of a professional football team. Consequently, FK Qarabağ, then playing under the name of Mehsul, took part in the 1966 Azerbaijani championship.[5] That year, the club reached fourth place in the local championship.

Qarabağ participated in the local championship for four consecutive years during which second place was their best result (achieved in 1968). After 1968, however, owing to carelessness and a lack of financial support, the team withdrew from the championships for almost ten years.[5] In 1977, the team was reborn under name Shafaq. In 1982 Shafaq was the only representative of Aghdam in football. Between 1982–1987, the squad used the name "Cooperative society". In 1988, Qarabağ won the champions title in the Azerbaijan SSR local championship under its current name.[5]

Effects of war and financial struggles (1991–2008)

In 1993, during the Nagorno-Karabakh war, the city of Aghdam came under Armenian control, and the team was forced to move from Imarat Stadium to Baku, while the head coach of the team, Allahverdi Bagirov, died in the war.[6][7][8] Financial problems plagued the club during the period from 1998–2001, and the club went through hard times although it became the first Azerbaijani team to win away from home in a European competition by defeating the Israeli side Maccabi Haifa 1-2 in the 1999 UEFA Intertoto Cup thanks to a double strike from club legend Mushfig Huseynov. Qarabağ has also represented Azerbaijan in the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup and UEFA cup many times.

These problems were alleviated in 2001, when one of the largest holding companies of Azerbaijan, Azersun Holding, starting sponsoring the team. The squad used the name of Qarabag-Azersun for two seasons, but then returned its original name in 2004.[9]

Gurban Gurbanov era (2008–present)

Gurban Gurbanov 2014.JPG
Gurban Gurbanov the most successful Azerbaijani manager in European competitions.

In 2008, former Azerbaijani football star Gurban Gurbanov was appointed as head coach after the unexpected departure of Rasim Kara to Khazar Lankaran one week before the start of the 2008–09 season. Led by Gurban Gurbanov, Qarabağ have ignored a common strategy in Azerbaijani football: eschewing foreign signings in favour of nurturing local talent.[10] Gurbanov brought with him a tiki-taka style of play, characterised by short passes, long periods of build-up and players interchanging positions.[11]

Under Gurbanov, Qarabağ has become one of the most successful Azerbaijani football clubs in Europe (with three consecutive wins) and one which reached the UEFA Europa League play off-round by beating Rosenborg in the UEFA Europa League, and also eliminated Honka of Finland.[12][13] The achievements in European competitions marked Gurban Gurbanov as among the most successful Azerbaijani managers ever.[14]

In 2010, the club set an Azerbaijani record for the most significant win in a European competition by beating Metalurg Skopje 4–1 in Baku and eliminating Wisła Kraków to reach the play-offs for the second year in succession.[15][16][17] In 2011, the club duplicated the same record by beating Banga Gargždai 4–0 in Gargždai.[18] The 2011–12 season ended in disappointing style for Qarabağ, however, as they finished in fourth place, leaving the club without European competition.[19] In 2013, Qarabağ reached Europa League play off-round for third time in their history.[20][21]

In May 2014, Qarabağ earned its second league title after 21 years.[22] A month later, by beating Red Bull Salzburg, the club became first Azerbaijani side to win in the third round of UEFA Champions League.[23][24] In August 2014, the club reached Europa League play off round for the fourth time in last five seasons.[25] In 2014, Qarabağ qualified for the 2014–15 Europa League group stage, becoming the second Azerbaijani team to advance to this stage in a European competition.[26] On 23 October 2014, after defeating[27] Ukrainian club Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk 1–0, the team became the first Azerbaijani club to win a Europa League group stage match.[28][29]

In 2017, after victory over the Sheriff Tiraspol, Qarabağ qualified for the UEFA Champions League play-off rounds for the first time. In the first leg they recorded a 1–0 victory over Danish side F.C. Copenhagen in Baku.[30] Despite losing 2–1 in the second leg, Qarabağ won on away goals and became the first Azerbaijani team to reach the group stages of the UEFA Champions League.[31]

Crest and colours

The crest on the club emblem is the symbol of the Karabakh. It is produced by English designers and based on the Karabakh horse.[32] The horse stems from the club's nickname "The Horsemen"; although it was included on club programmes and scarves earlier, the crest was not displayed on the shirt until 2004.[33] After Gurban Gurbanov's appointment, Qarabağ's attractive style of play led fans to call the team "Qafqazın Barselonası" ("Barcelona of The Caucasus"), which plays upon Barcelona's success in Europe.[11][34] The club is sometimes called "Qaçqın Klub" ("The Refugee Club") after its conservative position on Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and refugee problem in Azerbaijan.[11][35][36]

Shirt sponsors and kit manufacturers

Qarabağ's traditional kit alludes to the club's location in Nagorno-Karabakh with the black and white representing light and darkness respectively. The club's kits are manufactured by Adidas and sponsored by Azersun, a Baku-based food producing company.

Years Manufacturer Sponsor
2004 – 2011 Germany Adidas Azerbaijan Azersun Holding
2011 – 2012 Italy Kappa
2012 – present Germany Adidas

Stadium

Qarabağ plays home matches at Tofiq Bahramov Stadium in Baku, which has a capacity of 31,200 fans. The stadium is also used for the Azerbaijan national football team's matches.

The club have previously used Guzanli Olympic Stadium, which is situated in Quzanlı, the most populous municipality in the Agdam Rayon of Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan. The Imarat Stadium which was club's original home stadium was destroyed as a result of artillery attacks from Armenian military forces during the Nagorno-Karabakh War.[37][38][39]

In 2012, the construction of a new football stadium was announced. Azersun Arena is expected to be completed in 2015. Azersun Arena is a football stadium is a multi-use stadium in Surakhani settlement of Baku, Azerbaijan. It is currently used as the club's Azerbaijan Premier League home stadium and holds 5,800 people.[40]

The record attendance for Qarabağ occurred on 27 September 2017 in a UEFA Champions League group stage match attended by 67,200 fans against Roma.[41]

Supporters

Although a large part of Qarabağ's support is drawn from the local Aghdam population, they remain immensely well supported in the rest of Azerbaijan. This is mainly due to their being the only team to represent the war-torn Nagorno-Karabakh region in the league.[42] The club is a sole remnant of the past and a living symbol of hope and pride for over half a million Azerbaijani internally displaced people. In recent years, thanks to achievements on the pitch, the club has been able to inspire and initiate special youth projects enforcing stability and development in the IDP-settlements near the border of Nagorno-Karabakh.[43][44]

The club have few supporting groups such as Imarat, Qarabağ Ordusu, Boys Qarabağ, and Ladies of Qarabağ.[45][46] These groups often receive free tickets to Qarabağ's games, which helps Karabakh to have more support from fans.

Recent seasons

Last nine seasons
Season Div. Pos. Pl. W D L GS GA P Cup Europe Top Scorer (League goals) Head Coach
2008–09 Premier League 5 26 14 7 5 35 22 49 W - Republic of Macedonia Artim Šakiri (7)
Bosnia and Herzegovina Nidal Ferhatovic (7)
Azerbaijan Gurban Gurbanov
2009–10 3 42 17 18 7 37 30 69 QF EL PO Azerbaijan Rauf Aliyev (5)
Azerbaijan Afran Ismayilov (5)
2010–11 3 32 17 7 8 41 22 58 FR EL PO Georgia (country) Georgi Adamia (18)
2011–12 4 32 15 8 9 37 28 53 SF EL Qual. Georgia (country) Georgi Adamia (7)
2012–13 2 32 16 11 5 43 26 59 SF - Brazil Richard Almeida (13)
2013–14 1 36 21 9 6 65 21 72 QF CL
EL
Qual.
GS
Brazil Reynaldo (22)
2014–15 1 32 20 8 4 51 28 68 W CL
EL
Qual.
GS
Brazil Reynaldo (10)
Netherlands Leroy George (10)
2015–16 1 36 26 6 4 66 21 84 W CL
EL
Qual.
GS
Spain Dani Quintana (15)
2016–17 1 28 19 5 4 46 14 62 W CL
EL
Qual.
GS
South Africa Dino Ndlovu (10)

European record

Chelsea 6 Qarabag 0 (36807146810).jpg
Qarabağ playing against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge during the 2017–18 UEFA Champions League.

The club have participated in 14 editions of the club competitions governed by UEFA, the chief authority for football across Europe. These include 4 seasons in the Champions League, 9 seasons in the UEFA Cup and Europa League, two seasons in the Cup Winners' Cup and one season in the Intertoto Cup.[47] Qarabağ has played three times in the Europa League after qualifying via the Champions League. Counting all of the 86 games the side have played in UEFA competitions since their first entry into the Cup Winners' Cup in the 1996–97 season, the team's record stands at 32 wins, 22 draws and 32 defeats.

The club plays its home matches at Tofiq Bahramov Republican Stadium, an all-seater stadium in Baku. Since the last rebuilding in 2012, it can host 31,200 spectators.[48] The record attendance for Qarabağ in a European match occurred 30 July 2014, in a 2014–15 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round match attended by 32,000 fans against FC Red Bull Salzburg which ended with a 2–1 win for the Qarabağ.[49] Qarabağ biggest wins is 5–0 against Samtredia in the 2017–18 UEFA Champions League qualification, while the biggest defeats is 0–6 against Copenhagen in the 1998–99 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup and Montpellier in the 1999 UEFA Intertoto Cup.[47] With 59 caps, Rashad Sadygov has appeared in the most UEFA matches for Qarabağ,[47] while Reynaldo has scored the most goals with 11.[47] Qarabağ has played Metalurg Skopje and Twente four times, more than any other team.

In 2017, after beating Copenhagen 2-2(a) in the Play-off round of the UEFA Champions League, Qarabağ became the first Azerbaijani club to reach the Group stage.[50]

Updated as of 31 October 2017

Tournament P W D L GF GA GD Win%
UEFA Champions League 22 9 8 5 24 18 +6 040.91
UEFA Cup / UEFA Europa League 58 22 15 21 61 69 −8 037.93
UEFA Cup Winners' Cup 4 0 1 3 1 12 −11 000.00
UEFA Intertoto Cup 4 1 0 3 2 11 −9 025.00
Total 88 32 24 32 88 110 −22 036.36

UEFA club rankings

As of 3 November 2017[51]

Rank Team Coefficient
75 Israel Maccabi Tel Aviv 24.750
76 Turkey Trabzonspor 24.600
77 Azerbaijan Qarabağ 24.325
78 Russia Lokomotiv Moscow 24.096
79 Switzerland Young Boys 23.860

Players

Azerbaijani teams are limited to nine players without Azerbaijani citizenship. The squad list includes only the principal nationality of each player; several non-European players on the squad have dual citizenship with an EU country.

Current squad

As of 1 September 2017

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Ukraine GK Anton Kanibolotskiy
2 Azerbaijan DF Gara Garayev
5 Azerbaijan DF Maksim Medvedev (vice-captain)
7 Azerbaijan MF Rahid Amirguliyev
8 Spain MF Míchel
9 South Africa FW Dino Ndlovu
10 Brazil MF Pedro Henrique (loan from PAOK)
11 Azerbaijan FW Mahir Madatov
12 Azerbaijan GK Shahrudin Mahammadaliyev
13 Bosnia and Herzegovina GK Ibrahim Šehić
14 Azerbaijan DF Rashad Sadygov (captain)
18 Norway FW Tarik Elyounoussi (loan from Olympiacos)
20 Azerbaijan MF Richard Almeida
No. Position Player
21 Azerbaijan DF Arif Dashdemirov
22 Azerbaijan MF Afran Ismayilov
25 Albania DF Ansi Agolli
30 Azerbaijan DF Abbas Huseynov
32 Azerbaijan DF Elvin Yunuszade
44 Azerbaijan FW Aghabala Ramazanov
52 Poland DF Jakub Rzeźniczak
55 Azerbaijan DF Badavi Guseynov
77 Haiti MF Wilde-Donald Guerrier
88 Azerbaijan MF Elshan Abdullayev
90 Azerbaijan FW Ramil Sheydayev (loan from Trabzonspor)
91 Azerbaijan MF Joshgun Diniyev
99 Spain MF Dani Quintana

For recent transfers, see 2017–18 FK Qarabağ season.

Reserve team

As of 5 September 2017.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
3 Azerbaijan MF Turan Manafov
4 Azerbaijan DF Ruslan Mirzaliyev
16 Azerbaijan MF İbrahim Aslanlı
17 Azerbaijan MF Elchin Rahimli
19 Azerbaijan FW Famil Jamalov
23 Azerbaijan DF Elgun Ulukhanov
24 Azerbaijan DF Nihat Tamazov
26 Azerbaijan DF Rahid Aghazade
28 Azerbaijan MF Suleyman Ahmadov
29 Azerbaijan FW Khagani Sadigov
31 Republic of Macedonia DF Oliver Stoimenovski (loan from Rabotnički)
33 Azerbaijan MF Eltun Turabov
34 Azerbaijan MF Salman Jafarov
35 Azerbaijan DF Kamran Nasirov
38 Azerbaijan MF Famin Aliyev
No. Position Player
39 Azerbaijan FW Zaur Farzaliyev
40 Azerbaijan GK Mammad Huseynov
47 Azerbaijan DF Asgar Huseynov
48 Azerbaijan MF Ibrahim Gadirzade
49 Azerbaijan FW Ibrahim Aliyev
51 Azerbaijan DF Elchin Asadov
59 Republic of Macedonia FW Bojan Miovski (loan from Rabotnički)
60 Azerbaijan MF Pilagha Mehdiyev
66 Azerbaijan MF Javid Bayramov
70 Azerbaijan MF Nijat Suleymanov
80 Azerbaijan DF Yusif Hasanov
84 Ukraine FW Yaroslav Deda
87 Russia FW Arif Gadirov
89 Azerbaijan GK Nijat Mehbaliyev

Club officials

The Board of Directors

Position Name
President Turkey Abdolbari Gozal
Vice-president Turkey Tahir Gozal
Managing Director Turkey Emrah Çelikel
General Manager Azerbaijan Asif Asgarov
Financial Director Turkey Murat Karaman
Press and Operations Officer Azerbaijan Nurlan Ibrahimov

Coaching staff

Position Name
Head coach Azerbaijan Gurban Gurbanov
Assistant coach Azerbaijan Elchin Rahmanov
Coach Azerbaijan Mushfig Huseynov
Coach Azerbaijan Zaur Tagizade
Goalkeeper coach Azerbaijan Elkhan Hasanov
Coordinator of youth academy Republic of Macedonia Borce Hristov
Reserve team head coach Azerbaijan Aftandil Hajiyev
Under-19 head coach Azerbaijan Rashad Sadygov
Fitness coach Spain Ruben Selles
Fitness coach Bulgaria Chudomir Chakarov

Medical staff

Position Name
Doctor Azerbaijan Sahhat Rustamzade
Masseur Azerbaijan Elshan Aliyev
Masseur Turkey Oktay Gursoy
Masseur Azerbaijan Rahman Nabiyev

Individual records

Lists of the players with the most caps and top goalscorers for the club, as of 21 November 2014 (players in bold signifies current Qarabağ player). Mushfig Huseynov is the club's all-time most capped player and top scorer with 125 goals in 320 games.[52]

Reynaldo dos Santos Silva.jpg
Reynaldo is one of the most goalscoring players for the club.
Top Ten Highest Goalscorers
Player Period Appearances Goals
1 Soviet Union Azerbaijan Mushfig Huseynov 1989–99; 2003–04; 2005–07 320 125
2 Brazil Reynaldo 2012–2016 93 46
3 Azerbaijan Samir Musayev 2002–06 85 44
4 Georgia (country) Georgi Adamia 2010–12 72 29
5 Azerbaijan Tarlan Ahmadov 1993–97; 2004 102 28
6 Azerbaijan Vugar Nadirov 2001–05; 2009–2015 193 27
7 Azerbaijan Vagif Javadov 2007–10; 2012–13 110 25
8 Azerbaijan Nazim Aliyev 1996–97 44 23
9 Azerbaijan Rauf Aliyev 2006–13 131 23
10 Azerbaijan Richard Almeida 2012–present 69 20
Maksim Medvedev 2014.JPG
Maksim Medvedev is one of the most capped players for the club.
Top Ten Players With Most Appearances
Player Period Caps Goals
1 Soviet Union Azerbaijan Mushfig Huseynov 1989–99; 2003–04; 2005–07 320 125
2 Azerbaijan Maksim Medvedev 2006–present 244 6
3 Azerbaijan Vugar Nadirov 2001–05; 2009–2015 211 28
4 Albania Ansi Agolli 2010–present 196 3
5 Azerbaijan Namiq Yusifov 2006–07; 2008–2016 186 1
6 Albania Admir Teli 2009–2015 173 6
7 Azerbaijan Aslan Kerimov 1993–97; 2003–11 168 12
8 Azerbaijan Rashad Sadygov 2009–10; 2011–present 147 8
9 Azerbaijan Rauf Aliyev 2006–13 131 23
10 Azerbaijan Vagif Javadov 2007–10; 2012–13 110 25

Notable managers

Information correct as of match played 31 October 2017. Only competitive matches are counted.

Name Nat. From To P W D L GS GA %W Honours Notes
Allahverdi Bagirov  Soviet Union 19?? 198? N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A [53]
Agaselim Mirjavadov  Azerbaijan 1992 1996 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A Azerbaijan Premier League
Azerbaijan Cup
Azerbaijan Supercup
[54]
Elbrus Abbasov  Azerbaijan 1996 1998 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Boyukagha Aghayev  Azerbaijan 1998 1999 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Elbrus Abbasov  Azerbaijan 1999 2000 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Shahin Shahuseyni  Azerbaijan 2000 2000 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Shahin Diniyev  Azerbaijan 2001 2004 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Igor Ponomaryov  Azerbaijan 2004 2005 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Elkhan Abdullayev  Azerbaijan 2005 2006 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A Azerbaijan Cup
Boyukagha Aghayev  Azerbaijan 2006 2006 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Rasim Kara  Turkey Dec 2006 Jun 2008 38 14 12 12 35 32 036.84 [55]
Gurban Gurbanov  Azerbaijan Jul 2008 Present 406 226 106 74 588 301 055.67 Azerbaijan Premier League (4), Azerbaijan Cup (4) [56]

Notes: P – Total of played matches W – Won matches D – Drawn matches L – Lost matches GS – Goal scored GA – Goals against
%W – Percentage of matches won

Nationality is indicated by the corresponding FIFA country code(s).

Honours

As of 22 May 2015, Qarabağ has won three Azerbaijan Premier League titles, the Azerbaijan Cup once and one Azerbaijan Supercup trophy. The club is the first non-Baku based club to have won the Azerbaijan Premier League title.[57] Qarabağ is one of the two teams in Azerbaijan, along with Neftchi Baku which has participated in all Azerbaijan Premier League championships so far.[57]

USSR

Winners (1): 1990
  • Azerbaijan SSR League
Winners (2): 1988, 1990
  • Azerbaijan SSR Cup
Winners (1): 1990

Azerbaijan

Winners (5): 1993, 2013–14, 2014–15, 2015–16, 2016–17
Winners (6): 1993, 2005–06, 2008–09, 2014–15, 2015–16, 2016–17
Winners (1): 1994

In popular culture

Qarabağ featured on football simulation game Pro Evolution Soccer 2015 and 2016.[58]

References

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  57. ^ a b ИСТОРИЯ И ДОСТИЖЕНИЯ. footballtop.ru (in Russian). Retrieved 24 January 2014.
  58. ^ ""Qarabağ" PES-2015-də!". sportinfo.az (in Azerbaijani). Retrieved 9 November 2014.

Further reading

  • Huizinga, Arthur (2012). Offside - Football in Exile. Paradox / YdocPublishing. ISBN 9789081887601.

External links

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