Baku, November 5, AZERTAC
Monaco have salvaged a 1-1 draw in their Europa League match against Qarabag to extend their lead in Group J by two points.
Qarabag, who had not conceded in their last five European home matches, had an early chance to open the scoring through Afran Ismayilov, whose shot from inside the box just trickled wide of the post. The host's goalkeeper Ibrahim Sehic was called on to make a stunning save to keep out a mid-range effort from Mario Pasalic inside the first 20 minutes of the match. It was a fairly even first half as both had chances to break the deadlock, one being Stephen El Shaarawy's one-on-one attempt with the goalkeeper, but Qarabag's defence was able to keep him at bay. The breakthrough finally came when Rashad Sadigov played a low ball into Samuel Armenteros, who stormed into the penalty area and chipped the ball into the back of the net. After the break, Monaco searched for the equaliser as Andre Raggi picked up the ball in space before directing a shot at goal from the penalty area, but his attempt went slightly over the crossbar. In the 73rd minute, Qarabag were left with their head in their hands after some poor defending allowed Ivan Cavaleiro to move to the edge of the box and hammer the ball past the keeper and into the goal. Monaco had their tails up after equalising as Lacina Traore managed to get into the box, with just the keeper in his way, but while lining up his shot, the keeper came off his line to intercept the ball and prevent the visitors from taking the lead. It was bad news for the visitors as Traore left the field injured, and Qarabag began to control the game with plenty of possession and comfortable passing around the field. However, it was not to be for the home side as they were forced to settle for a point. Tottenham Hotspur, who play later this evening against Anderlecht, are currently third in the group, two points behind Monaco, while Qarabag remain at the bottom.