1. FSV Mainz 05 made history on Thursday evening as they won a first ever UEFA Europa League match, defeating Qäbälä FK 3-2 in Baku to go top of the Group C standings.
Mainz showed no signs of fatigue despite travelling over 4,000 kilometres to the Azerbaijani capital, and they began confidently, albeit without creating many chances of note. However, they got the breakthough they deserved just before the interval thanks to a wonderful finish by Yoshinori Muto.
The second half quickly developed into a more open affair after the hosts equalised through Ruslan Qurbanov's penalty, before taking the lead when Sergei Zenjov’s shot from distance beat goalkeeper Jonas Lössl. Yet Mainz showed great resilience and fought back, with striker Jhon Cordoba levelling matters within moments of appearing as a substitute, before Levin Öztunali decided the game late on.
Man of the match
Cordoba was a consistent threat after coming on in the second half for Mainz. His goal was ultimately the rallying point for a much deserved victory.
It was a historic night in Baku, as Mainz have now secured their first victory in the Europa League group stage.
- Mainz had 19 shots on goal, compared to their hosts' 12.Die 05er have now scored in each of their eight competitive matches this season.Cordoba found the net only 57 seconds after being brought on, the fastest goal by a substitute in this Europa League season.
Qäbälä: Bezotosnyi - Ricardinho, Rafael Santo, Stankovic, Mirzabekov - Vernydub (Jarmalov - Zenjov, Sadygov (c) (Mammadov 81'), Ozobic, Qurbanov (Franjic 81') - Dabo
Coach: Roman Hryhorchuk
Mainz: Lössl – Bussmann, Bell (c), Hack, Brosinski – Rodriguez (Öztunali 67'), Frei – De Blasis, Malli, Clemens (Cordoba 67') – Muto (Serdar 84')
Coach: Martin Schmidt