Kwabena scores as Qarabag hold Boli's Ferencvaros

Kwabena OwusuDeportivo Leganes

Owusu Kwabena was on target as Qarabag played out a 1-1 draw against Ferencvaros in Wednesday’s Champions League first leg, third qualifying round encounter.

Fueled by their 5-4 aggregate triumph over FC Zurich last time out, the Azerbaijan Premier League side took on the Hungarian outfit for a chance to reach the play-off round.

Nevertheless, it was the visitors who took the lead inside Tofiq Bahramov Republican Stadium, Baku, when Cote d'Ivoire's Franck Boli beat goalkeeper Shakhrudin Magomedaliyev in the 17th minute.

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Eleven minutes before the half-time break, Ghana’s Kwabena restored parity for the hosts after he was teed up by Philip Ozobic.

In the second half, the teams were matched evenly as the game ended on a no winner, no vanquished note.

Boli, who now has two Champions League goals in the 2022-23 campaign, was subbed off for Balint Vecsei in the 67th minute, while Tunisia international Aissa Laidouni was pulled off for Muhamed Besic with two minutes left on the clock.

Nigeria international Anderson Esiti and Mali’s Adama Traore played from start to finish, but Ryan Mmaee (Morocco), and Fortune Bassey (Nigeria) were not dressed for action.

On the other hand, Kwabena played all 90 minutes with Senegal’s Ibrahima Wadji coming off for Leandro Livramento Andrade in the 90th minute.

They will lock horns in Budapest on August 9 with the winners on aggregate qualifying for the next round where they will join 11 other teams in the play-off round.

We came here to play the game, so whatever condition we find ourselves in, we have to be at our best,” Esiti said told the club's Youtube channel on Tuesday.

“To be at this stage of the tournament, you need to have a good team, a good fighting spirit, we also have to look at both legs.

“There are two games to qualify for the next round, we have to be focused and we have to be smart to ensure we have a good result.”

Before squaring up against Ferencvaros, Qarabag begin their league season with a home fixture against Səbail on August 6.

Gurban Gurbanov’s men are reigning league champions after ruling Azerbaijan for the ninth time in the 2021-22 season.

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