As Mirza Alakbar Sabir criticized... – ANALYSIS

24 April 2024 13:11
As Mirza Alakbar Sabir criticized... – ANALYSIS

Today, the Azerbaijan Cup semi-finals will be concluded.

The finalists will be determined in the Gabala-Zira and Qarabag-Neftchi, as reports.

These matches can result in an unusual final for Azerbaijan. If the home team wins in both matches, the winner of the last place can face the champion in the decisive match on June 2.

Champion vs Underdog
Qarabag provided the championship early enough. Gurban Gurbanov's team almost won a ticket to the final with a 4:0 away victory. It will be more than a miracle if the champion stops fighting today. In the other match, the second in the tournament table, Zira will be the guest of Gabala. The representative of the region is close to formalizing the 10th - last place in the Premier League. A defeat or even a draw in the last 5 rounds will relegate the team to the I League.

Helpless "Little Ones"
In fact, the composition of the current semi-final is not worth mentioning. Because, as always, all four clubs are representatives of the Premier League. Lower league clubs have never reached the finals of the Azerbaijan Cup organized since 1992. The "little ones" appeared once in the semi-finals. It becomes a "holiday" for weak lower league clubs to even reach the quarter-finals. Such events can be counted on the fingers.

Others soar in air balloons...
Unlike Azerbaijan, lower league clubs in world football are not at all helpless. There are dozens of such teams that have played in cup-winning finals. If we take a look at the current season without going too far, one of the finalists in the strong German Cup, Kaiserslautern, represents the II Bundesliga. His opponent will be the unbeaten champion Bayer. Among the lower league clubs that won the cup and played in the final was the representative of the USSR, which we were a part of for many years. In 1969, the winner of the competition was named Karpaty. Teams that left the High League or were promoted to it have appeared in the final many times. But as Azerbaijan’s famous satirical poet, Mirza Alakbar Sabir critisized "Dindirir əsr bizi, dinməyiriz, Açılan toplara diksinməyiriz. Əcnəbilər seyrə balonlarla çıxır, biz hələ avtomobil minməyiriz..."

"Confined we are, the ages press,
Unyielding to what may transgress.
Others soar in air balloons,
While we're yet grounded, in our cars, attune...” [Translation]

Gabala: Wigan or Atletico
If Gabala reaches the finals and leaves the Premier League, it will be among the teams that have faced such a situation in the history of world football. At first glance, this event may seem unique, but in fact there have been dozens of such cases. For example, the teams that won the English Cup in the 2012/13 season, and the same prize in neighboring Russia in the 2017/18 season, were relegated. These successful and unsuccessful teams were Wigan and Tosno. There were a lot of people who lost in the finals, who stayed to watch the cup the year they were relegated. Atletico in the 1999/2000 season and Akhisarspor in neighboring Turkiye in the 2018/19 season faced double sadness.

Historic moment in Sabirabad football: Final and Farewell
If Gabala makes it to the finals of the Premier League in the year it left, many will think that such an event has happened for the first time in Azerbaijan. However, this is not the case. The same incident happened many years ago - 31 years ago. Sabirabad Constructor advanced to the final of the Azerbaijan Cup and played in that match as well. But the 1993 season was remembered for the team both in the final and in the relegation. The opponent of Inshaatchi, who lost in the decisive match, was the champion of that season, Qarabag. And now Aghdam club will play in the final and is the winner of the championship. After 31 years, the opponent of the Aghdam players, who are dreaming of a double again, may be a club that is rolling down like that time.

31 Years’ difference
But if Gabala fails to keep its place in the Premier League, but Zira crosses the barrier in the semi-finals, it will be different from Inshaatchi. In 1993, the cup final took place about midway through the season. At that time, the Sabirabad club, which was not doing well in the championship, had not yet lost its place. Even Qarabag was not the champion yet. But 31 years later, the season will end with the cup final. If a miracle does not happen in the meeting with Neftchi, Qarabag will go to the finals as champions. As the Premier League is over, the final position of the opponent will be clear. If Gabala passes the semi-finals, it will go to the finals thinking about the I League and European Cups at the same time.

Our Reality
But Gabala repeating the experience of Inshaatci will not depend only on the results of the games. The representative of the region can pass Zira and can be the last in the Premier League. However, it is also possible to increase the number of teams and for the red-blacks to remain in the elite. Then Gabala will not be the 2nd team to reach the finals in the year it left the Premier League. Instead, he will remain as the owner of the last stage, as if he qualified for the semifinals.

It should be noted that today's game Gabala - Zira will start at 17:00, the match Qarabag - Neftchi will start three hours later.

Vugar Kheyrullayev