Qarabağ Just Became The Feel-Good Story Of The Champions League

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Dino Ndlovu scored a second-half goal that proved to be just enough for the Azerbaijani club Qarabağ, as today they advanced to their first-ever Champions League group stage, winning their matchup with FC København by virtue of away goals. With this win, Qarabağ is now a thrilling underdog about to take on the true giants of European soccer.

Qarabağ represent the city of Agdam in Azerbaijan, but they haven’t played their home games in Agdam since 1993 because of the immense damage that city took in the Nagorno-Karabakh War. Instead, with their original city practically uninhabited, Qarabağ play matches in Baku and stand as a symbol of pride for Azerbaijan’s many displaced people.

Qarabağ fought through the play-in rounds, weathered a late storm of København attempts today, and have now earned the right to play six more games in the competition. To advance beyond the group stage would be basically impossible, but just getting to this point is an incredible feat, and any kind of result—especially at home—would be an inspiring moment.