SPORTS


Madatov stars as Azerbaijan beat Oman in final

Baku, May 21, AZERTAC

Mahir Madatov's first-half brace saw Azerbaijan to a 2-1 victory over Oman on Sunday in the 2017 Islamic Solidarity Games football final at the Tofiq Bahramov Stadium.

The hosts took an early lead in Baku through Madatov, before the forward pounced again in the 27th minute to put his team in total control.

Oman caused a few jitters shortly after the interval when Salaah Al Yahyaei halved the deficit with a wonderful goal, but Azerbaijan held on for a famous win.

The country's 75th gold medal of the Games' fourth edition moved them seven clear of neighbours Turkey at the top of the overall medals table.

The home side started the better in the early stages and made their dominance count when they forged ahead in the 17th minute.

Some good work down the left-hand side from Aghabala Ramazanov resulted in Madatov finding space in the centre, and the 19-year-old, who made his senior international debut earlier this year, tapped in his first goal of the tournament from close range.

It was always going to be tough for Oman to find a way back into the match, as Azerbaijan had not conceded once in their four previous outings.

The crowd erupted for a second time before the half-hour mark as Madatov struck again.

The teenager was in the perfect position to meet Ramazanov's low cross with a crisp finish, although Oman captain Abdul Aziz Al-Gheilani could have done better than to let the ball slip through his grasp and into the net.

The final was quickly becoming all about one man, but Madatov was centimetres away from a 20-minute hat-trick when his fierce drive from long distance crashed off the crossbar.

With the kick-off time having been moved back by an hour just days before the game, a large portion of the crowd appeared to have left at half-time.

The consequent reduced atmosphere helped galvanise Oman, who hit back in stunning fashion 11 minutes into the second period.

When Al Yahyaei collected the ball 30 yards from goal not a lot seemed on, but he unleashed a ferocious strike that flew into the far top corner and ended Azerbaijan's run of clean sheets.

The 18-year-old winger could have equalised when he raced clean through on goal just seconds later, if it wasn't for a good save from home keeper Shakhrudin Magomedaliev.

Yashar Vahabzade's Azeris did well though to close out the match as Jamalov and veteran centre-back Rashad Sadigov, the most-capped player in the national team's history, broke down attacks aplenty.

Algeria beat Cameroon 2-0 in the bronze-medal match earlier on Sunday, but the night belonged to Azerbaijan.

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