CIS Cup: Inter Baku claim maiden title
Azerbaijani champions Inter Baku have won the 19th Commonwealth of Independent States Cup in St Petersburg having beaten Belarussian representatives Shakhstyor Soligorsk in Sunday’s final on penalties. It is the third time in five years that a team from Azerbaijan has won the trophy.
Inter got to the final by virtue of finishing top of Group A with a 100% record against Istiqlol Dushanbe, FC Iskra-Stal and Neftchi Khorkor-Ata before disposing of Mika Yerevan and local side Zenit Saint Petersburg in the quarter-finals and semi-finals respectively. Inter’s opponents Shakhstyor Soligorsk finished top of Group C containing Zenit, Flora Tallinn and FC Balkan before dumping out record winners Dynamo Kyiv and three-time finalists Skonto Riga in the knockout rounds.
The final promised much but, sadly, didn’t deliver in terms of goalscoring action. With both of the finalists scoring a combined total of 29 goals in their ten matches and containing each of the tournament’s two leading scorers, Ģirts Karlsons (Inter) and Aleksandr Alumona (Shakhstyor), much more was expected of a final which ultimately ended goalless after extra-time. Therefore penalties were needed to decide the winner of the tournament and it would be Inter Baku who would be celebrating after winning the shoot-out 6-5 becoming the third team from Azerbaijan to win the tournament after Neftchi Baku (2006) and Khazar Lankaran (2008).