2001-2007 | Neftchi

“Neftchi” Professional Football Club


  • 2001/02

    On the eve of new season, it wasn’t known who would leave or who would stay in "Neftchi”. Unexpectedly President Agil Pashayev - who did his best for the club for 4 years – left the club. Being undirected after his retirement the team hadn’t decent trainings, the footballers had to satisfy with few trainings in order to preserve their forms. Uncertainty continuing for a while, ended at the ends of June and "Neftchi” was taken under the patronage of "Azerneftyag” Production Union, plant director Ramiz Mirzayev was elected as a club president. Though Abdullayev continued his performance, shortly Rashid Ozbayov who was the second coach of the national team and former captain of our team, was appointed as a head coach. And main transfers were done upon his arrival. Contract was concluded with Rashad Sadigov a talented teenage from "Turan”, Ruslan Abbasov, Georgi Kilasoniya and Nadir Nabiyev. Experienced Gurban Gurbanov returned Baku until December on the basis of lease according to agreement among "Neftchi” and "Fakil”. Though Ozbayov’s tactical schemes that would be applied, had been tested in the training process, he left his post only after 20 days as well. And he explained the reason as following: "I was appointed for the Club only on the purpose of rendering assistance and we had agreement that I can continue my work if the management desires. But I always said that I shall work on the basis of agreement after certain period. At last, that time has reached. When I submitted my participating application in UEFA Cup, I said that if you recorded my details, it was necessary to conclude an agreement. And they answered: "work for the present, we shall see”. I said: "I don’t work without contract anymore”.

    And it was the time that totally 7 days left for the first game of "Neftchi” with "Hit-Goritsa” that met in UEFA Cup last year. The team was commissioned to Ogtay Abdullayev once more. On the eve of that game, the management did changes but again in the time just totally two days left for the game when the team was preparing for instructive-training gathering. In this case, Kazbek Tuayev was appointed as a head coach. In fact, it was 3rd appointment for 26-day period. Though the players hadn’t normal trainings, fans were waiting for revenging failure of last year. But a goal wasn’t scored in the match with Slovenians in Baku. Letting in a goal caused "Neftchi” be excluded it from struggling in 78thminute of answer game held a week later.

    A big hope was that the team would display its real power in the championship. Notwithstanding, Tuayev dismissed experienced Tarlan Ahmadov from the team. Gurban Gurbanov whose leasing contract was expired, returned Russia in December. And 11th National championship would be held according to new regulations and it consisted of two phases. Teams gaining primary 6th place in the first phase would struggle for 1-6th places beginning from zero, and next ones for 7-12th places. After a draw with "Khazar University” at the beginning of the championship, "Neftchi” rejected Republican stadium after management’s decision and decided to play "home” games in the stadium named after Ismat Gayibov in Bakikhanov settlement. But debut of this place wasn’t successful and the team was defeated by "Shamkir”. Nobody had doubts about flagman to be in the primary "sixth place” though losses in games with "Turan” and "Garabagh-Azersun”. The championship decreased its interest due to removal of points gained in the first phase and so far as the leaders that "Neftchi” was included as well, gained achieved their purpose before some turns. Everbody was waiting for an interesting struggle for primary "sixth place”. By the other side, argument between AFFA and Clubs had getting heated. Not interested in suffering from Fuad Musayev’s injustices clubs persistently claimed his retirement. The first phase of the championship ended in such a scandalous situation and struggle for championship began. On the eve of "sixth place”, our team invited Ukrainian Roman Zub and Turkmen Arif Mirzayev to the staff. But it wouldn’t be right if to tell that the they caused the team be strengthened. It was a big loss for Baku inhabitants who began the "sixth place” with a draw with "Shafa”. Because every point loss could cost dear as totally 10 turns were played. As if it wasn’t enough, our footballers weren’t able to break "Kapaz’s” resistance in Baku in the second turn – 0:0. After 3 turns, "Shamkir” was leader with 9 points. The team left behind "Neftchi”, "Kapaz” (4 games) and "Shafa” (3 games) with 4 points. But it was possible to reach "Shamkir” as the team had games in Baku that… it caused unexpected results as the referee Khagani Mammadov imposed a penalty to guests’ door in the last minutes of "Shafa” – "Khazar University” game. Not bearing such injustices any more the clubs rejected to play under AFFA’s flags. UEFA didn’t recognize the results as Organizing Committee continued championship and country cup where it was broken off and 11thAzerbaijan championship left its mark in history as incomplete championship. Naturally, UEFA didn’t let Azerbaijan clubs to continent cups.

  • 2002/03

    After incomplete former season, it was impatiently waiting for beginning of new season. But clubs didn’t want to play under AFFA’s flag managed by Fuad Musayev and UEFA didn’t recognize alternative championship organized by them separately. As other teams "Neftchi” satisfied only with trainings and test games. Such no-football days lasted until November, 2002. Just in November, the management decided to organize a tournament on the occasion of 65-year of our club’s establishment.

    8 teams would struggle in two groups in the tournament held in the stadium named after Ismat Gayibov. Teams gaining first place in the groups should determine the winner in final. In comparison with incomplete season, Ismayil and Agil Mammadovs from "Shamkir”, Samir Abasov from "Shafa” strengthened the staff. But Arif Asadov, Farrukh Ismayilov, Adahim Niftaliyev left the team and went to "Garabagh”. In general, after "Azersun” company provided "Garabagh” with support, most strong footballers gathered in this club.

    The flagman led A Group in "Neftchi-65” tournament. And "Dinamo-Bakili”, "Shahdagh” and amateur team "Ulduz” gained places in this group. And in the B group, OMIK, "Turan” and "Khazar” Sumgayit struggled together with "Garabagh-Azersun”.

    In the first turn, "Neftchi” met "Ulduz” that competed in amateur league. Though it was amateur team, Mingachevir inhabitants had footballers getting experience in Strong players team. In the first half, Vadim Vasilyev’s double was answered with a goal by the guests. The second half part passed more tense. Only nearer to the end of the game, Ismayil Mammadov’s goal let no doubt about "Neftchi’s” victory. In the second meeting, "Neftchi’s” rival was "Shahdagh”. Being different just from the first game, flagman didn’t meet with resistance in this case and scored five unanswered goals to the rival’s door. In the last turn, "Neftchi’s” rival was "Dinamo-Bakili”. Though points of these teams were equal, ball difference of "Neftchi” was much better. A draw leveled up "Neftchi” forward the final, but only victory the Dinamo players. Just on such occasion, the match differed with its tension. Though the rival scored a goal, "Neftchi” was able to score an answer goal soon. But at the beginning of the second half, Rashad Sadigov’s own goal caused the team be in a difficult situation. Only nearer to the end, Agil Mammadov’s answer goal let the team forward the final.

    And in the other semifinal, "Garabagh-Azersun” became "Neftchi’s” rival in final leaving behind its rivals without any difficulty. Though the first half ended without a goal in a decisive game, Vadim Vasilyev made the score equal after Arif Asadov’s goal in the second part. Afterwards the teams couldn’t change the score even in additional time. But penalties solved everything. The first three kicks of footballers of both teams resulted with a goal. Ismayil Mammadov sighted forward the pillar after accurate kick of Pasha Aliyev from "Garabagh”. And the only legionary of the tournament Dmitri Kudinov’s goal specified "Garabagh-Azersun”. In this way, "Neftchi” couldn’t gain general reward of the tournament dedicated for its jubilee.

    As confrontation among AFFA and the clubs continued yet, country championship didn’t start at the beginning of 2003rdyear. The issued couldn’t be solved though state structures and Supreme football structures began to impact. Most of our footballers already began to leave for neighbor counties. The most player flow was to Iran. Footballers remaining in the country suffered from not playing football. As there wasn’t compromise among the parties, it was unknown when the players would return green football arena. In such a moment, it was decided to hold "Solidarity Cup” among professional football clubs organized by Baku Football Federation. The major sponsor of the tournament was "Azersun Holding” Company. Information support of the tournament was "Lider TV”, "525-ci gazet” and "Sahar” analytical information newspapers. On January 29, 2003, a ceremony of throwing lots was held for "Solidarity Cup” in the base of "Neftchi” football club. According to lots, the struggle would be in two semifinals per having 5 teams. "Neftchi” got in A semigroup with "Umid”, "Shahdagh”, "Ulduz” and "Turan”. And teams such as "Garabagh-Azersun”, "Khazar”, "Adliyya”, MOIK and "Kapaz” would struggle in B semifinal. Two teams from each semigroup would level up semifinal, and winners would compete for general reward, but defeated teams for 3rd place. The main aim in holding the tournament was to increase footballers’ proficiency, restore their playing experience and achieve solidarity among the clubs.

    In the first turn, "Neftchi” gained a confident victory over "Turan” not having any difficulty. In the next turn, defeating "Shahdagh” with minimal score wasn’t indicator of "Neftchi’s” power. Goal situations the team made was enough for several games. Just after two turns, there was no doubt that "Neftchi” would level up next phase. But it was just such self-confidence that flagman left the arena with no goal equality in the match with "Ulduz” that newly gained professional status. It was the only point loss of "Neftchi” in this phase. Displaying games in the last turn once more Baku inhabitants defeated "Umid” and ended semigroup games as a leader.

    And only "Garabagh-Azersun” and "Adliyya” could pass next phase from other semigroup. Unfortunately, being one of Azerbaijan football leaders "Kapaz” left the tournament incompletely due to financial crisis.

    In semifinal, "Neftchi’s” rival was "Adliyya”. Playing the game in high level, flagman gained claiming for final scoring a goal in every part. Stronger team was "Garabagh-Azersun” in comparison with rival staff in final for that period. The game passed in the condition worthy of a real final. Both teams wished win the Cup by struggling persistently. Team players would like to prove themselves in the case of no football. Though "Neftchi” differed at first, Aghdam inhabitants made the score equal. In spite of it, "Neftchi” had already taken the initiative. At last, at the result of such advantage our team hoisted the trophy over its head by scoring a victory goal. But no tournament could replace country championship and Cup. As such tournaments held in high level, it didn’t play a big importance. Therefore, country’s football community was impatiently waiting for the day when next championship would be held.

  • 2003/04

    Trying to keep game experiences by holding two tournaments, the clubs understood that it wouldn’t be possible to level up European Cups if there wasn’t a championship. Thus, the second year Azerbaijan had no Eurocups consecutively. The clubs required to call an extraordinary conference of the federation and conduct new elections. Otherwise they wouldn’t compete in championship. Negations beginning from the beginning of 2003rd year were on the way gaining results at last. Consent was reached after UEFA and FIFA representatives visited to Baku and had meetings with AFFA and club representatives. The clubs agreed to begin the championship and federation to call an extraordinary conference and determine date for election. In this way, 12th country championship started on May 17. The following day, strengthening its staff with Vidadi Rzayev, Huseyn Mahammadov "Neftchi” went for match with "Shamkir” that was irreconcilable rival of recent years and began the first place struggle with defeat. Afterwards a long no-defeat series began. Until the end of the first lap, flagman allowed draws that could be considered sensational in games with MOIK and "Khazar University” and ended all other matches with victories. Especially Vadim Vasilyev differed with leadership skills in the staff and saved the team with his goal in the most critical moments. After the first lap, Baku inhabitants were in front rows of leaderboard.

    Interval between first lap and second lap was only related to holding game of national team and cup matches. As the championship began early, it was planned to play in December and to have break in winter months. In the first turn of the second lap, "Neftchi” met with "Shamkir” that was one of its main rivals. The game began with forwards of the guests and they already scored a goal in 23rd moment. All efforts of our footballers were unsuccessful and Badri Kvaratskheliya kicked second ball towards our door at the beginning of the second part. Afterwards our team tried all its efforts best in order to save the game and Igor Getman – our most loyal player – decreased the difference to minimum. And 15 minutes to the end, Agil Mammadov made the score equal. But not satisfying only with it our team continued its attacks. And after two minutes, the guests performed a rough play against Vasilyev in penalty area. Being already at one step to the victory, Vidadi Rzayev kicked the penalty put by the referee inaccurately. 21 turns were played in the championship until the end of 2003. Ending all games with victory our team leveled up leaders’ group with "Garabagh” and "Shamkir” in New Year.

    At the end of December, AFFA’s report-election conference was held. In the last minute, Fuad Musayev withdrew his nominee and "Neftchi’s” president Ramiz Mirzayev was elected a new manager of the federation. In the first days of 2004, he retired from "Neftchi’s” management and the club was transferred to establishment of "Azerneftyanajag” Oil Refinery. On Janaury 26, Rovnag Avdullayev was elected a new president of the flagman in the meeting of Management Board. A contract was concluded with Mahmud Gurbanov, Jahangir Hasanzada returning homeland from Ukraine, Gurban Gurbanov from Russia, Zaur Taghizada from "Shafa”. Strengthening with new players "Neftchi” was considered one of main nominees for championship and it was necessary to win "Garabagh” at first in order to gain such aim. Due to big fan interest to the game, the match was held in Republican stadium named after T. Bahramov under the parties’ consent. Gurban Gurbanov scored a goal after traditional wink pass of Zaur Taghizada in the match that 15-thousand audience watched. Though hosts scored an answer goal later on, the fullback Ilham Yadullayev performed a rough play against Gurban during next forward of our team that performed more interesting game and injured person himself kicked an accurate penalty. Two minutes later, Eltay Aslanov scored a beautiful goal after game hero’s pass. Owing to victory, "Neftchi” gained the leadership into its hands. Match with MOIK passed hardly as well. Hosts tried their best to score a point and even sometimes they didn’t abstain themselves for this purpose. Even in 7th minute Anar Bayramov’s rudeness could cost Gurban Gurbanov’s life. Footballers’ immediate intervention saved the captain who had tongue blocking. But captain’s injury couldn’t cause the team to save leadership resolutely and celebrate 4thchampionship at last. Gaining season finish the team was entitled to represent our country in Champions League leaving 5 point its closest rival behind.

    And the main purpose put before the team in country cup was to win the reward. Main phase was held in 2004 as well. "Neftchi’s” rival in semifinal was "Bakili” that excluded "Shafa” from the struggle in 1/4 final (6:1, 1:0) and didn’t deeply impress in championship. In the first game held in Republican stadium named after T. Bahramov, our team was defeated with minimum score unexpectedly – 0:1. And in the answer match in "Shafa” stadium, our footballers preferred to forward football in order to revenge for the goal in the first game. But it could be noted that having a big part of the game in forward the rival impeded all attacks successfully. This condition lasted until 84thminute. 6 minutes to final whistle, Agil Mammadov made the score equal due to result of both games by kicking Zaur Taghizada’s pass from right wing towards the door. In additional time, as the score didn’t change, the winner was determined by postgame penalties. Differing from young players of "Bakili who couldn’t escape Not escaping from psychological load of hard game, members of our team performed all kicks accurately and gained right to meet "Shamkir” in final. And the final match was hard as well. First of all, both parties tried not to make mistakes and thought about inviolability of the door.

    And goalkeepers played faultless in the moments when several goal situations happened. No ball was kicked in the main time and hopes longed for more 30 minutes. In the last minute of first part of additional time, our team gained right to perform a penalty kick. After the kick performed by Mahmud Gurbanov from a distance, ball touching the defenders, fell before Samir Abbasov who joined to the top forward and he didn’t miss the chance – 1:0. Though "Shamkir” tried a lot in the second additional part, it couldn’t prevent from making "golden double” for the second time in the "Neftchi’s history”. At the result, flagman achieved the championship after 7-year upset, the Cup after 5-year interval and "golden double” after 9 years.

  • 2004/05

    After two-year interval, it was waiting with a bit anxious for Azerbaijan clubs return Europe. Ceremony of throwing lots where first Vice-president Abbas Abdullayev and Vice-president Namig Guliyev participated, chose Bosnia-Herzegovina and Russian clubs as rivals for our team.

    Beginning preparation of new season in Baku "Neftchi” visited Kislovodsk in order to do instructive-training gathering and friendly games there. Injured captain Gurban Gurbanov stayed in the capital in order to continue his cure. Differing from Nadir Nabiyev who was forced to transfer to "Turan” by AFFA’s influence who had contract with our team, newly jointed Ilham Yadullayev went to gathering as well. Head coach Kazbek Tuayev was pleased by Anatoli Tebloyev’s performance who was in rival’s staff during the game with "Mashuk-KVM” Pyatigorsk in Russia and he invited him to Baku for examination. Fullback Shalva Isiani and halfback David Svanidze from "Sioni” club Bolnisi together with Tebloyev came for examination and a contract was concluded with each of the players on the eve of Champions League. Let’s add first that Isiani returned after games with "Shiroki Briyeg” and Svanidze as soon as the first turn finished.

    In July, first match with "Shiroki-Briyeg” was in the same city. From the first moments, confusion affecting our footballers caused hosts to move forward with 2 balls difference. But shortly before the end, the goal scored by Zaur Taghizada was in the right moment for the answer match. After a week, answer match in Baku was under circumstance of our team’s full advantage and only goal scored by Emil Guliyev made "Neftchi” level up next phase in the continent tournaments for the first time in "Neftchi” history. In the second phase, the first match held with OMIK in Baku was ended without goal though both parties had chances. Aiming big targets OMIK included Vagner Lav who was a fullback of Brazilian national team gaining American Cup ("Copa America”) on the eve of match in Moscow. And everything changed when he appeared in the stadium in the second part. However, future owner of UEFA Cup had advantage until this moment, our footballers impeded attacks successfully and sometimes organized adverse attacks. Though Gurbanov played with goalkeeper privately in one of such cases, at the last minute Muscovite goalkeeper Akinfeyev was successful and goal touching his shoulders went out the door line. Russians leveled up the second phase differing two times by increasing their fullbacks number.

    Though the team returned Baku and prepared for the championship, Tuayev returned homeland a bit later. Due to game with OMIK, "Neftchi’s” game with "Baki” was postponed in the first turn. Playing the first game without head coach, our footballers hardly defeated "Shamkir” that lost its former force, with only goal scored at the last moments. Lets inform at first that taking into account postponed game with "Karvan” of 3rd turn, our team could gain only a point out of two matches held later on that it negatively affected the team’s status too much in the leaderboard in its turn. Victories over rivals such as "Ganjlar birliyi”, "Goyazan”, "Bakili”, "MKT-Araz” being outsiders, were unexpectedly changed with draw with "MOIK” "at home” and defeated by "Inter” as a visitor. In the progress of first lap, involvement of Croatian Tomislav Vishevich and Nigerian Stenli Udenkvor helped the staff in its staff. Such undesirable start and moving off the leaders rather enough caused the management fly into a rage. After Vice-president Namig Guliyev, Kazbek Tuayev was sent to retirement as well. From middles of 2004th year, Executive director Ramin Musayev was appointed as vice-president, and head coach was Aghasalim Mirjavadov who worked in "Neftchi” for a long time in soviet time. Main purpose put before both persons was to encourage and restore the discipline. Let’s add at first that both persons did enough for having high morals and good discipline of footballers. At the result of it, ecept defeat in Tovuz and draw in Jalilabad, the team won the score in rest games and came a bit nearer to leaders.

    "Neftchi” ended winter season earlier than other teams as the team would take part in traditional "Unity Cup” of championship of CIS and Baltic countries. Not being able to adapt the game peculiarity Svanidze and Udenkor, as well as, Yadullayev left the team. In spite of them, ending military service – Elnur Allahverdiyev and Rashad Sadigov returned the team. on the eve of Moscow visit, a contract was concluded with most successful transfer of recent years – Georgian Georgi Adamiya, as well as, Ruslan Gafitulin and Croatian Darko Chordash. And Issa Nikiema was taken to Moscow for examination and sent back as he didn’t please. Nobody was waiting for success from Azerbaijan team that could move forward 1/4 final success only for one time throughout the history of "Unity Cup”. And victories over tournament favorite "Sherif” and "Nebitchi” caused "Neftchi” move forward 1/4 final. And here Armenians who were eternal rival and everlasting enemy of Azerbaijanians, was waiting for the team. there was an extreme agiotage around the game, hundreds of our countrymen living in Russia and tens of fans from Baku thronged to "Dinamo” manege of totally thousand persons capacity, to see the game. But as tribunes were full, majority of people remained outside, but waited until the end despite of unbearable freezing of Moscow. However, feeling terrible psychological pressure on our footballers caused "Punik” to own a territory advantage in the first part, which was irritable, "Neftchi” began second part more confident. 45 minutes that conducted in high level favored Azerbaijan two grandiose and historical goals, joy with unlimited extent coming from victory over enemy, leveling up semifinal for the first time in our history and Armenians a failure throwing stones at them in Erevan. Defeating "Dinamo” Kiev by two beautiful goals of Adamiya in the semifinal Baku inhabitants became rival of "Lokomotiv” Moscow that joined the tournament from semifinal, in final. In addition, as "Dinamo” joined the competition from semifinal as "Lokomotiv” did and everything began from "zero”, all participants card indicators was "reset” in this phase and Rashad Sadigov, who got a red card in the match with "Punik”, played again Kiev inhabitants. Though Russian champion played with strong staff in the final, Zaur Taghizada scored a goal after a beautiful raid. But "Lokomotiv” differed two times and became winner of the tournament in case Russian sideline referees’ "efforts” kept all our forwards incomplete. Here extreme tiredness of our footballers who performed 5 games in 8 days played role. Moreover, silver medal, Adamiya’s becoming a goal scorer and electing Vidadi Rzayev the best player of the tournament was within "Neftchi’s” assets as well. After such success, country president Mr. Ilham Aliyev who received the members of our team expressed his gratefulness to everybody for the victory gained over Armenians and stressed that "Nefcthi”s this success would play great role in development of our football. Club president Rovnag Abdullayev submitted "Neftchi’s” uniform, attributes and silver medal of "Unity Cup” and stated that it was the result of care taken by great leader Mr. Heydar Aliyev to sports.

    On the eve of the second lip of the championship, the team summed last training process with instructive-training gathering in Anatolia. Beginning the second lip with a draw over "Bakili”, "Neftchi” entered in leaders group with consecutive victories that draws "at home” with "Inter”, afterwards with "MKT-Araz” made the circumstance difficult. And in the middles of second lip, a contract was concluded with Slovenian fullback Tomislav Mishura and Georgian Valeri Abramidze on the purpose of strengthening the staff. Moreover, our footballers reached 5th turn that’s considered as a decisive phase of the championship, at the same row with leaders, a dramatic game held with "Garabagh” in Surakhani decreased championship chance. Firstly, Aghdam inhabitants scored a goal, Tomislav Mishura scored an answer goal 9 minutes to the end. But hosts could score victory goal in minutes added by the referee. In order to save the championship chance, "Neftchi” had to defeat its main rivals "Turan” and "Khazar-Lankaran” in Baku and "Ganja” as a visitor. Having all these matches at the same time our footballers gained important victory in rather difficult struggle by performing an incredible persistence. As "Shafa” ceased its performance after first lap, getting technical victory in the last turn, our team had to wait for games of its other rivals in order to make official its championship. Gaining a victory with penalty scored in last minutes in Ganja, "Khazar-Lankaran” make its point equal with "Neftchi” and the champion had to determine "golden game” according to regulations as well. Another glorious game of the club history was held in Ganja city stadium before about 25 thousand fans on June 10. Football fans all over Azerbaijan came the match which managed by foreign referee for the first time in the history of national championship, all country cherished for this match. After start whistle of Karlo Bertoli, Lankaran inhabitants moved forward and scored a goal. Performing its skills on arrangement in most difficult situations several times "Neftchi” made the score equal by irresistible kick performed by Ruslan Abbadov in the second part due to martial spirit of the footballers. After several minutes Zaur Taghizada scored a victory goal. The team finished the season that the team played resolutely, with a worthy victory and reached 5thchampionship.

    Differing from last year, referees prevented "Neftchi” from performing "a golden double” in his time. Defeating "Bakili” (3:2) in 1/8 final, the champion met with "Inter” in 1/4 final. As first game finished "at home”, everything should be solved in answer game. In that answer game that referee Imamkhan Sultani showed a red card to Ruslan Abbasov irrelevantly already in 15thminute in "Shafa” stadium and caused guests be in minority. Despite of efforts of both parties, a goal wasn’t scored in additional time. And in additional time, Sultani showed second "yellow” card to Anatoli Tebloyev in this case. Struggling against rival, referee and psychological tensions coming from being in minority, our footballers couldn’t defeat the last team. Our team had to lay down "its arms” in postgame penalties.

  • 2005/06

    Though the team was a champion, head coach Aghasalim Mirjavadov did big changes in the staff. At first captain Gurban Gurbanov, Emil Guliyev and Mahmud Gurbanov whose contracts were expired, left the team. The coach parted his way with Huseyn Mahammadov, Tomislav Vishevich and Anatoli Tebloyev. In spite of them, Nadir Nabiyev from "Turan”, Aleksandr Chertoganov from "Baki”, Moldivian national team halfback Vadim Borets and Yugoslavians – goalkeeper Vladimir Michovich and fullback Branimir Subashich were involved to the staff. Though majority of people supposed that newcomers couldn’t replace left players, games in Champions League proved completely contrary to such probabilities. It was known in the ceremony of throwing lots where press service principal of the team Sabuhi Safiyarli participated that "Neftchi’s” rival in the first phase would be "Hafnarfyordur” team of Iceland champion. And popular "Aderlekht” (Belgium) was waiting for pair winner in the second phase.

    Our team had its trainings for Champions League in Baku. It was gratifying that new footballers could adapt the team in examination games. The first match with Icelanders was held in Baku. "Neftchi” performed several dangerous forwards keeping the guests without the ball from first moments. In one of such forwards, Agil Mammadov sent the ball, given back by forwards after corner kick, to remote corner with accurate kick. Moreover, Iceland champion didn’t move forward and tried to counterattack, when an opportunity occurred. Our team tried to score second goal until the end and in minutes added by the referee, newly appearing in the stadium, Tomislav Mishura kicked a ball through Taghizada’s air-pass from right. It could be said that only he solved fortune of game in exotic Iceland. Our footballers could hardly resist to host’s attacks one by one in the first part. For all that, Chertoganov got a red card and caused our team be in difficult condition. Though the second part began with the same scenario, goal of Mishura -who got the ball in center and differed by passing 4-5 forwards, gave hopes for second phase. Though hosts differed after Nadir Nabiyev’s goal, "Neftchi” among Azerbaijan clubs gained victory in European Cups as a visitor for the first time and defeated same rival two times. Hosts trained rather enough for the match with "Anderlekht” in Brussels in the second phase. Grandiose fan support was source of power for them, but worry to our players. Not having chance to manage start anxiety, the first goal was scored to our door, afterwards, second and third one… as if nothing could help to our team that already lost the control. Experienced Belgians won with the score of 5:0 and directed their way to Baku. But already in 4th minute Borets overturned the penalty put for rudeness against Subashich to a goal in Republican stadium named after T. Bahramov. If this footballer was accurate in episodes he performed head to head two times in future 15-minute duration, destiny of this pair would be unknown.

    After Champions League, Jahangir Hasanzada left the team and went to "Garabagh”. Though everybody thought that "Neftchi” was enough stronger than its rivals on the eve of national championship, our team performed weak game in the first lap. Especially loss of unexpected points in "at home” games caused our team be in a difficult condition. Defeating "MKT-Araz”, "Turan”, "Khazar-Lankaran” as a visitor, Baku inhabitants played a draw with "Karvan”, "Baki”, "Olimpik”, "Inter”, even "Ganjlar birliyi” and was defeated by "Ganja”. At the result, "Neftchi” was 4 points behind leader "Karvan” after the first lap.

    Returning winter season at the beginning of January our team’s first test was in Moscow. As it was last year, "Neftchi” had to represent Azerbaijan in "Unity Cup” of CIS countries’ championships. Having tournament trainings in Baku head coach Aghasalim Mirjavadov liked Bulgarian Svetoslav Stefanov’s game among footballers coming for examination and included him to the staff. In spite of him, Darko Chordash excluded from the team, injured Zaur Taghizada and Rashad Sadigov wouldnt be able to help us in the tournament. Ending primary two games in the group with victory our footballers played a draw with "Aktobe” and increased to 1/4 final as a group winner. And here struggle against "Pakhtakor” was difficult. Despite efforts of the parties, no goal was scored in the main time. Prior to regulations of the tournament, penalty kicks had been performed immediately after main time. Though our footballers were accurate in this series, out of two kicks of Uzbek footballers had been beaten off by goalkeeper Vladimir Michovich who performed a high level game throughout the tournament. There was no need for kick of goalkeeper who had to perform final penalty. "Neftchi” had to play with "Punik” in semifinal once again. But it was found out that Armenians left Moscow one day to the semifinal. Being afraid of appearing before our footballers, Armenians run away hotel at night to the direction of Erevan. Therefore "Neftchi” leveled up final in the second year consecutively. Though "Kaunus” scored a goal in final game being interesting enough, our footballers didn’t lose control. Moving forward by the support of our countrymen more than six thousand, our team gained "Unity Cup” for the first time of Azerbaijan football history at the result of performing a beautiful game. Gathering from airport to the city in Baku the fans met our footballers as a hero. Receiving team members the country president Ilham Aliyev thanked our footballers for this victory and expressed his gratitude as they kept their word promised about gaining the cup a year ago.

    After football game performed in Moscow, the experts predicted that "Neftchi” would gain leadership in the championship sonly. Gaining victory in primary 5 matches of the second lap and kicking 16 balls to rival doors our team played a draw with "MKT-Araz” in Baku and almost would lose their championship chances. But stumbling of leaders caused for hopes. Lining up victories "Neftchi” would celebrate its consecutive 3rd championship for the first time in the history by defeating "Baki” in 24th turn. It could be said that advantage was for our favor from the beginning of the game held on May 7. Despite of this, our fullbacks couldn’t benefit goal episodes gained by them. 6 minutes to the end, benefiting the only mistake in our defense Gomesh kicked a goal taking "Baki” to "gold” and "Neftchi” to "silver”. A draw with no goal with other championship nominee "Karvan” in Yevlakh crossed all hopes at all. And until this moment, "Neftchi” had to be satisfied only with "a bronze medal” as it ceased struggle with "Garabagh” in difficult semifinal phase (0:0, 0:1) in country cup.

  • 2006/07



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