LINZ, Austria (Reuters) - Austria's Marcel Sabitzer scored twice as they profited from a dominant first-half performance to secure a comfortable 4-1 home win over Azerbaijan in their opening Euro 2024 Group F qualifier on Friday.
Sabitzer, who is on loan at Manchester United from Bayern Munich for the second half of this season, collected a pass from Christoph Baumgartner in the box and thrashed the ball into the back of the net for the opener just before the half-hour mark.
Austria doubled their advantage a minute later as Michael Gregoritsch scored, before Sabitzer curled a wonderful free-kick into the corner of the net early in the second period.
Azerbaijan pulled a goal back when Emin Makhmudov finished from a tight angle and they briefly threatened a comeback, but Baumgartner got the goal his excellent performance deserved to restore the three-goal advantage for the hosts.
(Reporting by Nick Said; Editing by Ken Ferris)