Qarabag v Dundalk - where can I watch it and what do I need to know?

Wed, Jul 31 2019

Qarabag striker Jaime Romero and Dundalk defender Dane Massey during last week's 1-1 draw at Oriel Park. Credit: Michael P Ryan (ETPhotos)

Dundalk face the daunting, but not impossible, task of overhauling an away-goals deficit when they travel to serial group stage qualifiers Qarabag on Wednesday evening (kick-off 6pm).

Vinny Perth’s side will know a lot more about their vaunted opponents following last week’s joust at Oriel Park, which saw the Lilywhites snatch a late draw.

A defensive mix-up in just the fourth minute handed Qarabag the cheapest of leads, with Azerbaijan international Mahir Emreli taking full advantage to finish from close range.

Dundalk managed to stay in the game despite an avalanche of first-half pressure and deservedly equalised 12 minutes from time as top scorer Patrick Hoban headed home.

And the Lilywhites had chances to win it late on as both Georgie Kelly and Michael Duffy went close, but the 1-1 scoreline means it’s all to play for in the second leg in Baku.

Qarabag’s dominance of Azerbaijani football has been even more total than Dundalk’s over the past few years – they’ve won six straight titles – and have blazed a trail in Europe.

They’ve qualified for the group stages in four of the last five years, the only deviation being the 2017-18 season, when they become the first Azeri side to reach the Champions League groups.

They drew home and away with Atlético Madrid that year and will be keen to get back to the group stages following a disappointing finish in the Europa League last season.

What time is the match?

Kick-off is 6pm.

Where is the match?

Dalga Arena, Baku, Azerbaijan.

Who is the referee?

Norwegian referee Svein Oddvar Moen will take charge of proceedings.

Are there tickets available?

If you haven’t got tickets by now you’re not going, pal.

Where can I watch it?

The game will be shown live in the Republic of Ireland on Eir Sport 1 with coverage beginning at 5.55pm.

Can I stream it online?

Eir broadband, landline and TV customers can avail of Eir Sport’s online streaming service here.

Who are they key players to watch?

The home side is littered with internationals and top-class players but the Azeri champions will once again look to first-leg goalscorer Mahir Emreli to provide an extra spark.

Striker Emreli, who recently changed his name from Mahir Madatov due to his disapproval of his father’s new marriage, has an impressive tally of 34 goals in 88 games for Qarabag.

With Robbie Benson out injured, Wednesday could be the night that Sean Murray makes the step up to become one of the leaders in Dundalk’s midfield.

The former Ireland under-21 midfielder has had to be patient since joining at the beginning of the season but he showed his set-piece prowess with a brilliant cross for Hoban’s equaliser at Oriel Park.

Team news:

Badaj Huseynov is Qarabag’s only confirmed absentee, while Robbie Benson, Jordan Flores and Stephen Folan all failed to travel with the visitors.

Read Andrew Dempsey’s preview here.

Betting:

Qarabag 2/5; Draw 11/4; Dundalk 6/1.

Full list of Wednesday’s Champions League ties (kick-off 6pm unless stated):

Qarabag (1) -v- (1) Dundalk

HJK (0) -v- (2) Crvena Zvezda (5pm)

Rosenborg (1) -v- (2) BATE (6pm)

AIK (1) -v- (2) Maribor

Kobenhavn (2) -v- (0) TNS (6.45pm)